Johannesburg – The Department of Basic Education and Teacher Unions on Friday announced the postponement of the Annual National Assessments (ANAs) to February next year.
Addressing the media in Johannesburg, department Director General Matanzima Mweli said all the parties agreed to the postponement.
Mweli said the department considers the postponement to be in the best interest of schooling stability and that it will also assist in improving the quality and thrust of the national assessment programme.
“It was agreed the schooling environment, given the prevailing conditions and union concerns to the administration of ANAs, was not conducive to the writing of this very significant test which provides valuable information on learner performance at the national, provincial, district and school level.
“Following the discussions between the teacher unions and the department, the unions as a collective have confirmed their commitment to the national assessment programme which has made significant in-roads in identifying weaknesses and strengths in the teaching and learning process,” Mweli said.
Mweli said learners and teachers will be afforded additional space and time to address areas of weaknesses that have been identified in the previous assessments.
“There is a general agreement that the National Assessment programme is a cornerstone of Basic Education system that will continue to serve diagnostic and systemic evaluation purposes and as a consequence, it will drive improvement in the system so we meet the targets of the Department’s Action Plan 2030,” Mweli said.
According to Mweli, it was also agreed that the frequency of these tests need to be reviewed and therefore a task team would be appointed to deal with the concerns raised.
The main concern raised by the teacher unions, which resulted in the postponement of the ANA test, was that of the frequency in which these tests are conducted.
The teacher unions have proposed that the ANA tests be conducted on a three-year cycle.
This, according to them, will enable the department to address problems and gaps identified.
Also speaking was SADTU President Magope Maphila who said as a union they are in agreement with the postponement of the tests.
“We are agreeing to the postponement as this will enable the department to address the concerns we have raised,” he said, adding that this will also give them an opportunity to close the gaps they have identified.
Naptosa representative Baisl Manuel also echoed the same sentiments that they were in agreement with the postponement.
“We welcome the postponement, this is the best possible outcome,” he said.
The ANAs was introduced by the department in 201. It covers Grades 1 – 6 in Numeracy and Literacy, in 2012 Grade 9 learners were included and in 2015, Grades 8 and 9 learners were added, which implies that a total of 8.6 million learners were scheduled to be assessed in 2015. – SAnews.gov.za