Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plan, implement and conquer: Gauteng getting it right

According to Barbara Creecy, Gauteng MEC for education, their seven percent point  improvement to a 78.6% pass rate is the result of a well planned intervention programme, pupil commitment and a range of productive partnerships between the department, teachers, community and business.

Creecy spoke to the Times about how they managed to accomplish what many thought was impossible in such a short space of time. The department identified six subjects that produced the highest failure rates. These were maths, maths literacy, physical science and English first additional language.In their research process, it fast became clear that the majority of pupils who failed did not come from Gauteng's least functional schools but rather functional schools that could succeed if they were given additional support.

In April 2010 a three year programme dubbed the Secondary School Improvement Plan was launched. The programme gave an improvement target to every participating school and set high expectations that stretched pupil ambition. 1200 of the best teachers were recruited as tutors and about 48 000 grade 12s, almost half of those registered to write matric were invited to participate.

Key elements of the programme included supplementary lessons in the identified subjects, study materials for learners and lesson plans for tutors. At the height of the strike 80 of these groups were meeting daily, this teaching the most valuable lesson: the importance of giving learners and parents greater responsibility for learner achievement. Following the strike  different role players got together and ran the "Save our matrics" campaign in which learning camps were established, extra lessons were offered, Cinema screenings of video lessons were given.

Almost 80 percent of the schools involved showed a vast improvement in their results.

Creecy gives most credit to the learners who took responsibility for their own learning . Other role players include district officials, teachers, private sector and community structures.

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