On 29 October 2010 Minister Angie Motshekga signed the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 1: ‘Improved quality of basic education' during a ceremony at the Union Buildings. Government has prioritised the improvement of the quality of basic education as Outcome 1 of a total of 12 outcomes representing the top priorities of government. This makes basic education the apex priority of this administration.
Given that the schooling system has been performing below its potential, improving basic education outcomes is a prerequisite for the country's long-range development goals. Clearly, success in education will greatly influence the capacity to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, the goal around rolling back the frontiers of poverty.
Our children and young people need to be better prepared by their schools to read, write, think critically and solve numerical problems. These skills are the foundations on which further studies, job satisfaction, productivity and meaningful citizenship are based.
The Delivery Agreement is a negotiated charter reflecting the commitment of the key partners involved in the direct delivery process. It stipulates the activities to be undertaken to produce the mutually agreed-upon outputs, which in turn will contribute to achieving Outcome 1, ‘ Improved quality of basic education'.
The Delivery Agreement is based on the following four outputs :
- Output 1: Improve the quality of teaching and learning
This output is informed by the pressing need to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
If this happens, not only will learners know more at the end of each school year, they are also more likely to remain in school for longer.
- Output 2: Undertake regular assessment to track progress
There has been insufficient measurement of the quality of teaching and learning below Grade 12. It is envisaged that Annual National Assessments will improve and become a cornerstone of quality improvements in South Africa's schools, providing important information on learning and its context to teachers, parents, district officials and the country as a whole.
- Output 3: Improve early childhood development (ECD)
Output 3 is based on evidence pointing to the importance of pre-Grade 1 schooling in improving learning outcomes throughout primary and secondary schooling. Essentially, if children are given a good educational foundation early in life, they find it easier to learn beyond Grade 1. The task of improving the quality of Grade R and ECD generally will extend beyond 2014.
- Output 4: Ensure a credible, outcomes-focused planning and accountability system
This outcome emphasises the need to make schooling more accountable. It is necessary to know where under-performance occurs and the underlying reasons for this so that timely and well-targeted interventions can occur. The logic is that neither poor performance nor outstanding performance should go unnoticed.