NAPTOSA Position on the 2015 Annual National Assessments (ANA)
Statement released by the NAPTOSA Executive Director, Mr Henry Hendricks, on 3 September 2015
The ANA was conceptualised following poor learner performance in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMMS), as well as the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) studies. NAPTOSA, at the time, embraced the intention of a “home-grown” diagnostic testing system for selected grades. However, the ANA is no longer a diagnostic systemic evaluation tool, but has evolved into a content-based test with results being used to “label and punish” schools and districts in relation to performance. This labelling has changed the way in which schools and teachers perceive the ANA.
In 2014 we saw schools “teaching to the ANA” to the detriment of the curriculum. Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) instructed that days/weeks be dedicated to the preparation for the ANA, as well as schools having “pre- ANA tests” in some provinces. This abhorrent practice continues as a result of the pressure to perform at any cost. NAPTOSA denounces such practices and also rejects the proliferation and extension of the ANA to all grades as opposed to the initial focus grades, namely, grades 3, 6 and 9.
NAPTOSA is concerned that sufficient time is not allocated for schools to consolidate and implement the learning needs as identified.
NAPTOSA has consistently drawn its concerns about the ANA to the attention of both the Minister and the Department of Basic Education, but to no avail. These concerns include issues of changed focus from diagnostic to summative evaluation; lack of consolidation; the undesirability of a high stakes testing regime; and the absence of meaningful engagement. Other pertinent issues taken up with the Minister include the disruption of the academic year, additional educator workload, unfair demands on special schools, and change in focus and purpose. The timing of the ANA is also cause for concern.
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DBE Launches the Teacher Indaba and Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme (TASP)
NAPTOSA Executive Director, Mr. Henry Hendricks, addressed the DBE Teacher’s Indaba and recent launch of the Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme.
Below are extracts of the address:
"Programme Director, Madame Minister, Deputy Minister, DG, officials of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), and the South African Council for Teachers (SACE), Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), Unions,and the esteemed guests, 'Our Teachers' that are present . It is an honour and a great pleasure for me to present this message on behalf of NAPTOSA at this Teacher’s Indaba and Launch of the Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme by DBE.
Let me briefly reflect on the well-being and in particular the mental health of teachers. NAPTOSA is concerned that the burdens our teachers are bearing is having a negative impact on their mental health. According to recent research, nine out of ten teachers over 35 are on hypertension medication. Why? We as teachers deal with all the problems in the world but have very little support structures ourselves. The EAP programmes have not made the difference they were intended to have . Some of our teachers are teaching in harrowing conditions subjected to poor infrastructure, lack of parental and even management support. Then we are targeted by miscreants in the profession. We are sitting on a time bomb. History tells us that many of our teachers will quit before retirement. The lack of curricular support aids and abets this numbing situation.
NAPTOSA is therefore pleased that the Minister has proposed a departure from celebrating the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) as an event on the day, 05 October, instead regarding it as a programme for teachers which will concern itself with the welfare of teachers throughout the year. 'The 2014 WTD seminar by DBE and stakeholders raised an awareness of the value of teachers and teaching in our society under the banner of the South African version of the UNESCO theme, “Our Teachers, Our Future'. (Extract from the WTD strategy- 2015)
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