“The Democratic Alliance agrees with the assertion made by the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) that the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga’s Annual National Assessments are not working,” DA MP Annette Lovemore said in a statement.
The party said the literacy and numeracy tests caused pupils and teachers to focus on maximising test scores, resulting in teachers “teaching to the test”.
The ANAs are intended to determine pupils’ ability in literacy and numeracy.
The union said in a statement on Sunday, after holding its eighth national congress, that the ANAs should not be “abused to label teachers and schools, thereby demoralising and de-professionalising them”.
It said the ANA results should be given to schools promptly, before they were made public, and should be followed up with meaningful intervention programmes.
Lovemore said the DA agreed the ANAs were not being used as a diagnostic tool and that teachers and schools were being labelled as “underperforming” on the basis of the results.
The party, however, disagreed with the union’s call to scrap the ANAs.
“These assessments are essential. They are providing the closest thing to the truth with respect to the state of education in South Africa,” Lovemore said.
She said Motshekga should ignore the union’s call.
“It is also essential that she really hear the reasons that underpin the call, and act to address the concerns,” Lovemore said.
“The minister must make the most of this year’s opportunity. She must commit to doing everything it takes to ensure that every child capable of becoming literate and numerate is indeed granted the opportunity to achieve this.”