SA urgently needs to fix basic literacy and numeracy education in primary schools in order to prevent the drop-outs that occur at high-school level‚ education policy authority Mary Metcalfe says. She says the country should have a consultative process to deal with poor levels of reading and writing in the foundation phase of the education system. On February 23‚ the Department of Basic Education gazetted for public comment its intention to lower the minimum mark required to progress in the senior phase — Grades 7‚ 8 and 9. Currently these pupils do not move to the next grade if they get below 50% for their home language. The department now wants this home-language threshold reduced to 40%. It proposes that pupils should pass if they get 40% in their mother tongue and three other subjects. And‚ for the first time‚ achieving 30% in three subjects in the grades would allow pupils to move to the next grade. But Metcalfe, a former director-general in the Department of Higher Education an...

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