Western Cape Wraps up a Successful Literacy and Numeracy Roadshow
Since April, officials from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) have been travelling across the province to discuss the latest literacy and numeracy results of Grade six (6) learners.
The Literacy and Numeracy Roadshow involves a series of meetings with principals, educators, parents and communities to discuss the performance of primary school learners in the 2009 Grade six (6) tests, as well as, inform them on how to improve on these results. Providing this information to parents also enables them to hold their schools accountable for their children's performance.
The WCED has undertaken these tests on a large scale every year since 2002, alternating between Grades three (3) and six (6), in order to identify problem areas and where to undertake remedial action.
In November 2009, the WCED assessed the literacy and numeracy skills of eighty three thousand nine hundred and twenty one (83 921) Grade 6 learners from one thousnad and forty six (1 046) schools in the province.
The tests have provided a wealth of information on learner performance and are also guide the department's literacy and numeracy strategy.
This strategy includes the diagnostic tests and analysis, teacher training and support, the provision of teaching and learning materials and community mobilisation.
Brian Schreuder, the WCED's Deputy Director General for Curriculum Management, as well as other officials, have met with various schools in every education district.
This Roadshow also includes twenty four (24) community meetings which began in Bishop Lavis and will conclude in Stellenbosch on 4 August.
The department has generated reports for every school and is working with schools to develop teaching strategies to meet specific needs.
The results for the province in 2009 reveal that Grade six (6) learners have improved their literacy performance significantly since 2003, but that they are still struggling with mathematics.
For example, the Grade six (6) literacy pass rate has improved by thirteen point six percent (13.6%) from thirty five percent (35%) in 2003 to forty eight point six percent (48.6%) in 2009. The numeracy pass rate improved slightly, from fifteen point six percent (15.6%) to seventeen point four percent (17.4%).
While these results are still unacceptably low it is encouraging to note that the majority of schools are making progress.
For example, out of one thousand and forty six (1046) primary schools six hundred and eleven (611), or fifty eight point four percent (58.4%), improved their results in numeracy, with two hundred and eleven (211) schools improving by more than ten percent (10%). Seventeen point nine percent (17.9%) of schools results remained the same.
In literacy, six hundred and three (603) schools (57.6%) improved their results, with three hundred and forty one (341) schools increasing by more then ten percent 10%.
Minister Donald Grant says that schools have responded very well to the reports and the roadshow and are actively implementing best practice to address specific problems, often with excellent results.
"As part of this administration's strategic plan, we have made improvements in literacy and numeracy one of our key objectives. We are therefore making the necessary interventions so that we can equip our youth with the skills they need to compete in the highly competitive global environment," he said.
"We have set clear targets to improve literacy and numeracy at Grades three (3), six (6) and nine (9) and over next the four years we are determined to achieve them. The WCED will test all Grade three (3) and six (6) learners every year from 2010. The department will extend this programme to Grade nines (9s) for the first time this year on a pilot basis."
"The WCED has also invested an additional R101-million this year on reading books and text books in primary and high schools."
Grant says that success in the end will depend on everyone playing a role, from the learner to the teacher, parents and communities.
"Progress to date has showed that interventions do work. Further progress depends on the ongoing commitment of all concerned."
Brian Schreuder says the afternoon meetings with school management teams have been one of the major successes of the Roadshow.
"Here, we share best practice and success stories with the various schools in the area, with an aim to improve the results of schools that are lagging behind," he said.
"I have been struck by the commitment of educators and principals to improve on these results. However, schools cannot do this alone. They also need the support of parents and communities to turn around learner outcomes. If we have community and parental assistance, as well as commitment by the learner and the educator, these results will improve."
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Cell: 072 7241422
Tel: 021 467 2377