A study on Numeracy and Literacy for Students

A recent international study comparing countries and their students in numeracy and literacy revealed that South Africa “under-performs substantially.” South Africa’s results are comparative to the Seychelles and Mauritius.

The studied concluded that students demonstrate very low levels of numeracy and literacy and that many pupils only achieve at lower levels. This study reveals a lack of quality of education in South Africa and spotlights a worrisome future with multitudes of young people leaving the education systems with poor competency (Carter 2008, 24-25).

Carter (2008) explores different studies that reveal influences on school performance and education quality. Management at school is crucial to the learning environment and influences the performance of students. The student-teacher ratio also has an impact on performance. It was found that in-service training is very important for teachers in increasing the quality of education within a school: “mentoring teachers improve the quality of their teaching substantially (Sylva et al 2003 cited in Carter 2008, 27).

One of our big problems is quality of teaching. Obviously, if you don’t have teachers appropriately qualified you are not going to get far for a very long time. That is the problem with the bulk of our schools. Their learner performance is not up to speed. Matric results dominate newspapers – there is nothing new about how bad our children are doing. It’s obvious that the quality of teaching has something to do with it. There are other issues…. but by and large, it’s the quality of teaching (L).

What is being done to encourage quality education within schools? At the district level of DOE, there are various components that provide support to schools. One aspect of this support includes teaching and learning services. This support service is located at a district level within the DOE.