New unit to evaluate education system

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pretoria - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has officially launched a unit that will ensure effective evaluation of the entire education system and development of schools.

Launched on Friday, the National Education and Evaluation Unit (NEEDU) will have the authority to conduct the monitoring and evaluation of schools, districts, provinces and the national department.

The core responsibilities of NEEDU are:

* To provide the minister with an independent account of the state of the schools, including the quality of teaching and learning in all schools
* Provide an independent account on the development needs of the school education system
* Account for the attainment of the standards by all schools through a monitoring and evaluation system
* Identify on a system-wide basis the critical factors that inhibit or advance school improvement and to make focused recommendations for redressing the problem areas that undermine school improvement
* Propose appropriate sanctions to ensure that schools offer effective education for all learners
* Strengthen internal evaluation capacity within schools in ways that reliably inform and complement external evaluation
* Monitor the different levels of school support and the extent to which there is considered actions on proposed interventions, whether in the form of developmental support or in the form of disciplined action
* Review and asses existing monitoring, evaluation and support structures and instruments on a regular basis to ensure clarity and coherence in the ways schools and teachers are assessed and supported
* Provide schools with evidence-based advice on how to pursue school improvement in their particular context
* Promote school improvement through the dissemination of good practice

Motshekga said the emphasis was on schools because they were at the heart of their delivery.

"It is in schools where our main purpose for existence is, they are the most important unit in our work and the success of our sector should be judged by their performance and all our activities should be targeted at supporting schools and making them work.

"I trust that NEEDU will assist us greatly to achieve the outputs and deliverables set out in the education sector based plan-Action Plan 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025," Motshekga said.

NEEDU's CEO Professor John Volmink noted that schools are the centre of the building blocks in realising the dream of improved quality education, stressing a need for stakeholders to be accountable towards achieving the goal.

"It's the responsibility of every South African to embrace and pursue that dream. The need for accountability is necessary and unavoidable. Once you've made a commitment to be accountable, you must [live up to that]," said Volmink.