Newsletters


2018-08-02
Newsletter 169 - NEEDU - Schools That Work II - Recommendations relating to the Provincial Education Departments and Department of Basic Education


RECOMMENDATIONS RELATING TO PEDs AND DBE

RECOMMENDATION 7—MINIMISING THE LOSS OF TEACHING TIME:

A standard must be set regarding the number of teacher days in each term that cannot be exceeded attending workshops, union meetings, memorial services, sporting events and cultural activities. There are substantial variations among schools in respect of planned time and implemented time or “time-on-task.” The Minister determines the school calendar (planned time), which specifies the number of days that teachers and learners must attend school in a given academic year. However, the amount of time that teachers and learners actually spend at school by the end of each academic year (implemented time) relative to planned time is significantly reduced in many schools. The implemented time spent in different schools varies remarkably among schools owing to a number of factors. The variation between planned time and implemented time among schools can be attributed to seven factors:

· Non-adherence to notional time allocation prescribed in the curriculum;

· Learner and teacher poor attendance;

· Learner and teacher late coming;

· Teachers leaving school early for a variety of reasons;

· Teachers and learners returning to class late after break;

· Poor time management for the National School Nutrition Programme; and

· Early commencement of June and November examinations

The centrality of learning and teaching time lies in the fact that if time is not managed effectively, it has a negative impact on learner proficiency owing to poor curriculum coverage and limited learning opportunities. More compelling research findings consistently argue that the impact of time lost is often more detrimental in schools serving economically disadvantaged learners, who tend to trail behind their more affluent peers academically, continue to lag as they proceed through each grade, and have fewer opportunities outside of school for learning. For these millions of learners, reduced time in school has a debilitating effect. There needs to be a zero-tolerance approach to the factors listed above and detailed records need to be kept so that different officials at different levels in the system can be held accountable. A standard needs to be set, i.e. a point at which teachers can no longer leave their classes because too much teaching time has been lost already—where any additional loss of time would result in the school not being able to complete the curriculum adequately.



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