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Understanding primary school performance in Southern Africa (SACMEQ) Nicholas Spaull nicspaull.com/research [email protected] 30 th AEAA Conference – Gaborone 10 Aug 2012. Full paper available at:.

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Understanding primary school performance in Southern Africa (SACMEQ)

Nicholas Spaull

nicspaull.com/research

[email protected]

30th AEAA Conference – Gaborone

10 Aug 2012


Full paper available at
Full paper available at:

http://www.sacmeq.org/downloads/Working%20Papers/08_Comparison_Final_18Oct2011.pdf


Background: Data

SACMEQ

  • Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality

  • 14 participating countries

    • 61,396 Grade 6 students

    • 8,026 Grade 6 teachers

    • 2,779 primary schools

  • SACMEQ II (2000), SACMEQ III (2007)

  • Background survey

  • Testing :

    • Gr 6 Numeracy

    • Gr 6 Literacy

    • HIV/AIDS Health knowledge

      SACMEQ: South Africa

  • 9071 Grade 6 students

  • 1163 Grade 6 teachers

  • 392 primary schools


Research propositions
Research propositions

  • Students should be functionally literate and numerate by the 6th year of primary schooling.

  • Students cannot learn if their teachers are not present, in school, teaching (teacher absenteeism).

  • Teachers cannot teach what they do not know (teacher knowledge).

  • Hungry children have difficulty learning.

  • Textbooks are a fundamental pedagogical tool especially in poorer, text-deprived schools.


Distribution

of student

performance


WCA

LIM




Sa primary school gr6 literacy sacmeq iii 2007
SA primary school: Gr6 Literacy – SACMEQ III (2007)

Never enrolled

2%

Functionally illiterate

25%

Basic skills

46%

Higher order skills : 27%


Grade 6 literacy sa kenya
Grade 6 Literacy – SA & Kenya

SA Gr 6 Literacy

Kenya Gr 6 Literacy

1%

5%

7%

25%

49%

46%

39%

Public current expenditure per pupil: $1225

Public current expenditure per pupil: $258

27%


Grade 6 literacy sa namibia
Grade 6 Literacy – SA & Namibia

Public current expenditure per pupil: $1225

Public current expenditure per pupil: $668









Resources the issue
Resources the issue?

More reading textbooks

More maths textbooks


Accountability teacher absenteeism sacmeq iii 2007 996 teachers
Accountability: teacher absenteeism(SACMEQ III – 2007 – 996 teachers)

4th/15


Accountability teacher absenteeism sacmeq iii 2007 996 teachers1
Accountability: teacher absenteeism(SACMEQ III – 2007 – 996 teachers)

15th/15

20 days

(1 month)


Conclusions,

questions & recommendations


Conclusions
Conclusions

  • High provincial inequality in SA, NAM and MOZ

  • Unacceptably high levels of functional illiteracy/innumeracy in SA, NAM, and MOZ

  • Unacceptably high levels of teacher absenteeism in SA

  • Unacceptably high levels of grade repetiton in MOZ

  • Unacceptably low levels of textbook access in SA + NAM

  • Very low levels of preschool access in Botswana (given its education spend per pupil)

  • Low access to free school meals in Namibia


Questions
Questions

  • How is it possible that more Mozambican students have access to their own textbooks than SA /NAM students, and this when SA spends 15 times as much per child than Mozambique?

  • Why do Namibian students do much worse on numeracy tests than on literacy tests?

  • Why is it acceptable in South Africa for teachers to be absent (unjustifiably) for an entire month?

  • Why is preschool education so uncommon in Botswana? (especially given the international research showing cognitive benefits of ECE)

  • For each country, what is the low-hanging fruit?


Recommendations
Recommendations

GET THE BASICS RIGHT

  • Get all schools in the country to minimum quality standards in both basic infrastructure (water, electricity, desks, and so on) and in educational performance (numeracy and literacy milestones by certain grades);

    • Set clear and succinct goals that everyone must follow. For example, “Every child will read and write by the age of eight”; also provide parents with feedback on how their children are performing

  • All children should have access to a quality textbook

    • Textbook campaign + survey schools to check access & use

  • All teachers should be in class teaching for the full school day

    • Teacher inspectorate

  • Pupils who are mal-nourished should receive free school meals

    • Roll-out free school meals starting with most under-resourced communities

  • All pupils should attend at least one year of quality preschool education

    • Define curriculum and resource requirements and train Reception teachers

  • All teachers must have a minimum level of content knowledge in the subjects that they teach

    • Teacher board exam?


Thank you

www.nicspaull.com/research

[email protected]

@NicSpaull


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