Principals in Western Cape take stand against short notice for ANAs

2015-11-26 18:08
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Cape Town – Too little notice and not enough time left in the year. This was the reaction of some primary school principals in Cape Town to news that pupils would have to write the Annual National Assessment (ANA) tests from Thursday.

Perivale Primary School Principal Denzil van Graan told News24 he only saw the basic education department circular on Wednesday. "The last I heard in a meeting was that we weren't going to write ANA because it was postponed," he said from his office in Lotus River.

He was "shocked" at the circular because pupils were not prepared. "We have already had a drop in attendance at school because pupils have done assessments for the year. They are not geared up and excited to write," he said.

"I don’t think we will write because it’s not feasible. It’s not going to serve the right purpose," said Van Graan.

Primary schools were told in a circular distributed on Tuesday that ANA tests are to be written from Thursday. Despite the short notice, basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said it was "nothing that is logistically impossible".

'All schools must do them'

"All schools must do them between tomorrow [Thursday] and December 4. Schools must look at the practicalities, but they have to be written."

The ANAs, which test literacy and numeracy, were initially scheduled to start in September. But teacher trade unions objected to them in their current format and asked that they be remodelled.

A task team was set up and a mediation process followed. On September 18, it was announced that the Council of Education Ministers had decided that ANAs would be written from December 1 to 4.

Laerskool De Tyger principal, Francois du Toit, said he spoke to education department officials this week. His Parow school wanted to write the ANAs in the first week of January, if it could get permission to do so from the district office. 

Du Toit said they would use the results as a pre-assessment. "This is to see what they remember since 2015 and where the lapses are. I think the best is to use the marks for a specific goal rather than write it now just for the sake of writing."

A Khayelitsha primary school principal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they would also try for next year. His pupils were busy with different assessments and teachers were overloaded with marking, he said.

Teacher unions remained committed to remodelling ANA. In a joint statement on Wednesday, they said their members would not take part in any "ANA-related activity" in its current form this year.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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