Fran Hewitt: Educational progress in Limpopo, South Africa

Fran with her students

At the end of April we received the children’s school reports for Term 1, and at first glance it seemed the majority of children were failing. Sr Mary and I began to wonder if having a teacher here and doing school work every afternoon was worth the effort so I spent hours going through each report, analysing the results for each grade, and each subject, working out pass rates, and then comparing each child’s results to their achievement levels in the final report at the end of last year. The findings were surprising and rewarding. We focus mostly on literacy and numeracy here, and across Grades R (kinder) to 7 94% achieved a score above 40% (the pass mark) in English and 68.5/% achieved a score above 40% in Maths. I believe this is the direct result of the extra schooling provided at the Centre. Closer inspection of the lower achieving learning areas in each grade with failing students showed common trends, indicating the local subjects e.g. Life Orientation, Technology, Art & Culture and EMS (Economic Management Science) have the greatest failure rates. I have just completed a report for Sr Mary on my findings, which she wants to include in with the end of month report to the local government officers who provide funding for the Centre. My report does not point out their failings, just indicates that the Centre believes it is instrumental in assisting the children’s education. To keep the government funding going Sr Mary has to prove that the Centre is viable and doing a good job.

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Why you do speak so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying. - Bruno Hagspiel