Principals to explain poor results

23 December 2016 | Education

The management of poorly performing schools will have to “explain” come January next year, the permanent secretary in the ministry of education Sanet Steenkamp said yesterday.

This will be done during a performance dialogue from January until March next year hosted by regional offices under the stewardship of deputy directors in the quality assurance department.

According to her, educational regional inspectors will be expected to present data from the worst performing schools and explain what went wrong during the teaching process.

This comes at a time when two schools recorded 0% pass rate while most schools hovered just around 40 and 50% pass rate.

Only about 55% of candidates who sat for the Junior Secondary Certificate examination this year qualified for admission to Grade 11 in 2017.

“The school's management will be held accountable without being threatened, but they need to understand there needs to be consequences. Definite action will be taken if it is found that a principal have not overseen that teaching took place. We will also look at redeploying of teachers,” she said.

Steenkamp pointed out that the ministry will investigate whether the high failure rate is connected to the fact that some teachers are assigned to teach subjects in which they have no speciality.

“This is not to punish them but to see whether someone who studied social sciences is assigned to teach English in which they did not specialise,” she said. “Hard questions will be asked, we will not shy away from the reality.” Steenkamp said historic support to these poor performing schools will also be under the spotlight as well as other key contributing factors.

Empty promises

Ironically this is exactly what the Hardap and //Karas regions have been doing in the last three years and yet, their rankings in the national examinations remained the same. In 2015, //Karas held a three-day principals' meeting to discuss the 2014 Grade 10 examination results, but subsequently, they still dropped one place in the 2015 examinations.

This year's results showed no improvement as the region came second last. Meanwhile, Hardap has for the last three years ended up on the wrong end of the table despite several interventions such as the first-ever education conference held in 2013 under the stewardship of the education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa who served as regional governor at the time.

The conference, which ran from 27 to 30 June, investigated the poor performance of the Grade 10 learners of that region.

At the time Hanse-Himarwa said they need to “do soul-searching on why the Grade 10 examination results in the region have remained so poor”.

Although the region has after this conference moved up three spots from 13 to 10 on the Grade 10 performances national ranking list, it now finds itself at the very bottom of the ladder.


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