Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has announced new measures that will boost the country's education system.
Delivering his second State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament, Zuma said as from this year all Grade 3, 6 and 9 students will write literacy and numeracy tests that are independently moderated.
Government aimed to increase the pass rate for these tests from the current average of between 35% and 40% to at least 60% by
2014, the President said.
In addition, each school will be assessed by officials from the Department of Basic Education and will be recorded in an auditable written report.
He said measures were in place to assist teachers, such as providing them with detailed daily lesson plans. Learners will also be provided with easy-to-use workbooks in all 11 languages.
In his address to a packed parliamentary gallery, Zuma said government had placed education and skills development at the centre of its policies.
"We want to improve the ability of our children to read, write and count in the foundation years. Unless we do this, we will not improve the quality of education," said Zuma.
Among the performance areas that will be closely monitored are the number of matriculants qualifying for university entry as well as the maths and physical science pass rates in matric.
This follows continuous decline and stagnation in the matric results to 60.6 percent in the last year.
Zuma said government wanted to increase the number of matriculants qualifying to enter a Bachelor's degree to 175 000 by 2014.
"Our education targets are simple but critical. We want learners and teachers to be in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching for seven hours a day."
He urged parents to co-operate with government in making this a success.