Educ dept's response to report denialist - DA

2014-11-12 19:51
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Johannesburg - The basic education department has a denialist response to a ministerial task team report on the National Senior Certificate (NSC), the DA said on Wednesday.

"The department thinks that because the pass rate has increased that this translates into a quality education; they choose to be fooled into maintaining the positive psyche created by this ever-increasing matric pass rate, despite its decreasing quality," DA MP Annette Lovemore said in a statement.

"This approach will not serve the children of South Africa, who need quality education above all else."

Department of basic education (DBE) spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the DA was "running ahead of everyone else".

"The report is merely an account of what the task team has recommended and the DBE response to the recommendations. No decision has been taken as the minister and all MECs of education will discuss a way forward," he said.

"The DA has misrepresented the position of DBE. The theme for this administration is 'quality and efficiency' which means we no longer focus on the numbers but the quality we need to produce."

The department said in a statement on Tuesday that it briefed a parliamentary portfolio committee on the report

"The report is an outcome of an investigation undertaken by a task team established by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga following concerns around the NSC certificate," it said.

"Deputy Minister [Enver] Surty told the committee that the minister broadly supported the recommendations as they are consistent with the trajectory that the department envisages for the medium to long term improvements in the standard NSC.

"He said the department had already commenced with the implementation of a few recommendations and others will be implemented in the short to medium term."

Mathematics literacy and mathematics

According to the department, one of the key recommendations was the retention of mathematics literacy and mathematics but that a communication campaign needs to be done to explain the difference between the two subjects.

Chief director for public examinations and assessments Dr Rufus Poliah told the portfolio committee that the 30% pass requirement was a small component of the pass requirements and it did not encapsulate the standard of NSC.

"No learner can pass NSC if you pass all your subjects at 30% - you need at least three 30s and three 40s in order to pass. We have tried to explain this but the criticism continued which lead the minister to establish the task team comprising eminent persons," he was quoted as saying.

Lovemore said the report found fault with the training and competence of teachers and of exam markers, with the low cognitive demand of matric exams, with language proficiency and with the low level of numeracy among others.

"In summary, the current qualification does not adequately prepare young people for success in the labour market," she said.

‘NSC too low’

Lovemore said the report suggests increasing the rigour of the NSC, however, the department listed reasons why the recommendations would be unworkable in practice.

"In fact there was no agreement with any suggestion that the standard of the NSC is too low. The department argues that there is no empirical evidence for the proposed increase in the standard," she said.

"However, the task team report devoted many pages to analysis of the fitness for purpose of the current matric standards, and found them lacking."

She said that if the Motshekga was serious about her commitment to basic education she should introduce competency tests for teachers and increase the pass mark to at least 50% in four subjects in order to study at a university.

Read more on:    da  |  enver surty  |  angie motshegka  |  matrics  |  politics  |  education

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