NAPTOSA Comments on the release of the PIRLS - 5 December 2017
No new PIRLS of wisdom just yet – Lessons to Learn
President of NAPTOSA, Mr Nkosiphendule Ntantala, while welcoming the global release of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 presented to stakeholders in Centurion today, questioned what lessons we can learn from this study.
South Africa still performs at the bottom of the 50 country list. The Russian Federation tops the list at 581 points and South Africa again scores the lowest on 320 points. Mr Ntantala asks what we can learn from the Russian Federation in order to improve our educational reading strategies in South Africa. ‘Given that the Russian Federation spends almost double the instructional time South Africa does on language and reading, it is perhaps not surprising that it continues to top the list,’ said Ntantala. Furthermore, the Russian Federation has better instructional strategies in that by the time learners reach Grade 1, they are better prepared for school. ‘Reasons for this could be because pre-schooling in that country is of a high standard, something NAPTOSA has continuously urged the Department of Basic Education to formalise,’ said Ntantala.
NAPTOSA notes that 71% of our Grade 4 learners wrote the test in the language which they speak at home. The lesson to be learned is that learners should be allowed to write assessments in their mother-tongues; a position which NAPTOSA continues to advocate. ‘Thus, despite the fact that there was a negligible increase in the bottom line result, this is likely due to the fact that learners wrote in their mother-tongue language. What this result does is mask the fact that we are still performing poorly overall. We need to question whether this is a reflection of the quality of language teaching in our country,’ said Ntantala.
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World AIDS DAY 2017
South Africa has come a long way in the fight against HIV and AIDS. HIV and AIDS has claimed the lives of many teachers. Through the PTCA programme, NAPTOSA teachers became directly involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS. NAPTOSA has successfully contributed towards reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. The PTCA project came to an end in 2012, but the fight against HIV and AIDS continues.
Teachers and learners are equally burdened by the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. One in every five teenage pregnant girls is infected with HIV. These learners are often faced with discrimination. Some of these learners end up dropping out of school unable to deal with the double impact of HIV and stigmatisation.
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), a body that provides strategic direction to the country on HIV, developed the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Tuberculosis (TB), 2012 -2016. The NSP is built on the vision to achieve:
-Zero new HIV and TB infections
-Zero new HIV infections due to vertical transmission (mother to child)
-Zero preventable deaths from HIV and TB; and
-Zero discrimination associated with HIV, STIs and TB.
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