ANAs: millions wasted

2015-12-08 11:15
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - The R200 million spent by the Basic Education Department to prepare for this year’s Annual National Assessment (ANA) went down the drain, teacher unions have said.

The department had sent a circular instructing schools to administer ANAs between November 26 and December 4, 2015 “at a time that is convenient to the schools”.

This was a U-turn by the department after brokering an agreement with teacher unions in September to say ­ANAs would be written next year.

Things had threatened to get ugly prior to this as all the teacher unions had called on their members to boycott the tests, which test literacy and numeracy skills in grades 1-9.

Many schools have said they did not write the ANAs last week either because principals did not pick up the paper or because teachers boycotted invigilating the test, or because pupils were not at school.

National Teachers’ Union spokesperson Allen Thompson said most of their members did not participate in administering ANAs last week.

“I only know of one school in the province where the principal insisted that ANAs be written. The teachers refused and pupils ended up invigilating.

“The department has wasted R1 billion in five years to administer the tests that do not add any value to our education system. This is used as a cash cow to enrich those who are close to some officials in the department.”

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said about 99% of their members did not participate in the invigilation.

“There were a few incidents where our members were forced by their principals to administer the exams.

“Even next year we are not prepared to administer the exams as long as they have not been remodelled,” she said.

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA provincial chief executive officer Anthony Pierce said the writing of ANAs in December had “inconvenienced” parents. “It is a known fact that as soon as pupils finish their final exams, they do not go to school.

“Those parents whose children are transported by public transport, pay for a whole month at a time. It was grossly unfair for the department to expect parents to pay transport for a whole month just for their children to come and write ANAs for four days this month,” he said.

Pierce said 99% of their members had heeded the call to boycott the tests.

Department of Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said they were happy with the writing of ANAs last week.

“As of today, provinces are going to start sending their reports and we will know exactly how many schools participated,” said Mhlanga.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anas

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