Future of ANA in limbo

2015-09-11 10:30
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The Annual National Assessments must be improved, not scrapped - expert

2014-12-15 14:52

Education Economist, Nicholas Spaull talks to us about the Annual National Assessments. The minister of basic education recently announced the ANA results for 2014, citing dramatic year-on-year improvements in maths and literacy. Here's why the results are not an accurate reflection.WATCH

THERE is uncertainty whether the Annual National Assessments (ANA) in schools, the equivalent of matric tests in lower grades, will start as scheduled.

Millions of grade 1 to 9 pupils countrywide are scheduled to start their assessments next Tuesday.

However, the biggest teacher union, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), has called for its members to boycott the invigilation of ANAs.

There have been reported incidents of principals who have been prevented from collecting ANA papers, allegedly by members of Sadtu.

“Schools are experiencing problems with the collection of ANA papers. Sadtu members are following a directive from national office to boycott the ANAs. Some of the principals were at distribution points, but could not pick up those papers because of intimidation,” said Muzi Mahlambi, spokesperson for KZN Department of Education.

Mahlambi said the failure of principals to collect papers this week, will put more of a burden on the teachers next week.

Mahlambi said the department was working around the clock to make sure that the ANA starts as scheduled.

Provincial Sadtu deputy secretary Bheki Shandu said they were concerned about the Basic Education Department’s “undermining of collective bargaining”.

“This is what we saw in Marikana where one union was undermining collective bargaining. The Department of Education must come back to the negotiation table,” he said.

Shandu said ANA had become a “burden” to teachers who had to do administrative work.

“As Sadtu, we say ANA must be conducted every three years. That would also give the Department of Education time to implement diagnostic remedies after assessing where the problems are,” he said.

Shandu said the department was wasting too much money on the ANA.

“R300 million is too much. As Sadtu we cannot fold our arms and do nothing about it. We encourage our members to focus on revision so that we produce a good pass rate in the matric exams,” he said.

Shandu said the union did not condone violence and encouraged their members to respect others’ rights.

National Teachers’ Union (Natu) deputy president and spokesperson Allan Thompson said their members had been prevented from collecting the papers from distribution points.

“We are very disappointed by this. However we cannot oppose a decision taken by another union. It’s unfortunate because we thought the matter was getting the attention of the national minister. Although we are not happy about ANA, it is the only available instrument we have to determine the level of our education before grade 12,” said Thompson.

Other teacher unions have raised concerns about the ANA. National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said they had “consistently drawn their concerns about the ANA to the attention of both the minster and the Department of Basic Education (DBE), but to no avail”.

“Naptosa is concerned that sufficient time is not allocated for schools to consolidate and implement the learning needs as identified,” said Anthony Pierce, the provincial chief executive officer.

SA Onderwysersunie (SAOU) said ANA “is not a systemic assessment as claimed by the DBE because the results are also not comparable year on year”.

“The SAOU has always maintained that the ANA, in its current form, does not achieve what the DBE says it does,” said CEO Chris Klopper.

“More specifically stated it is neither diagnostic nor formative and contributes little if anything to an accurate assessment of either the curriculum or the pupils’ achievement. By extension, therefore, it is also of limited value when assessing classroom practice.”

Department of Education provincial spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said he did not want to “argue with the unions in newspapers”.

“Our national minister is engaging with them. But from our side we are happy with the ANA,” he said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ana  |  school

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