Dear NAPTOSA member
I wish to thank you for your continued loyal support for your Union and your constant efforts at promoting our Union and its policies.
I am taking this opportunity to write to you to put into context the NAPTOSA position and stance with regard to the Annual National Assessments (ANA).
Much has been said and it is now common cause that NAPTOSA, together with all the other unions, is at odds with the Minister in the Department of Basic Education (DBE) about the writing of the ANA in 2015. I wish to stress that NAPTOSA is supportive of a systemic evaluation system but believes that ANA, in its present form, does not suit this purpose.
The decision of the National Executive Committee to reject the writing of the ANA is informed by resolutions adopted by our various provincial structures and our National Council and National Congress over the past three years.
This rejection and call for improvement and remodelling has been conveyed to the DBE and Minister numerous times without receiving any positive response. In addition, various academics like Dr Nic Spaull have, since 2012, expressed the same misgivings about the ANA.Amongst many issues highlighted to the Minister the following stand out:
- NAPTOSA contends, and interestingly the DBE agrees in its diagnostic report, that the ANA is not a reliable or valid diagnostic tool since ANA results cannot be compared across grades and time. This is because the degree of difficulty of tests vary from year to year and across grades making comparisons difficult, inaccurate, misleading and unreliable.
- Schools are faced with enormous pressure to deliver ‘good’ results which has created an industry of ANA days, ANA monthly tests, district tests,provincial pre-ANA tests, etc. with the inevitable accompanied neglect of the curriculum, the long term impact of which is too ghastly to contemplate.
- Schools, teachers and principals are now being judged against the performance of their schools in the ANA. This has resulted in increased pressure, cheating and even forcing weaker learners to not attend school when the ANA is written.
Enough is enough! None of this is educationally sound or benefits the child, the teacher or the System for that matter. As NAPTOSA we refuse to subject our children, our teachers, our principals and schools to this mockery any longer. The fact that the DBE has ignored our inputs and concerns for the past three years does not make us irresponsible. This, NAPTOSA members, is the time to stand together with other unions and reject the continued imposition of a useless, discredited, and purposeless testing system. We must stand together and reject this pressure and the inevitable threats of discipline that will follow. NAPTOSA will stand against any attempt to intimidate our teachers, principals and governing bodies. This is also not the time for petty one-upmanship, small-mindedness and point scoring between unions. As teacher unions we are united in our rejection of the ANA.
We thus call on you to forward suggestions for improving and remodelling the ANA to us.
NAPTOSA will be participating in the mediation process between the DBE and unions which is scheduled to take place on 2 to 6 November 2015. We will keep you updated on developments as they unfold.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment.