Gauteng schools to be graded with a star rating
By the end of next year, Gauteng schools will be rated according to a 5-star system, it was recently announced.

Schools in Gauteng will soon be graded, reported Netwerk24.

"Most parents don't know which schools are good schools. They check if the child can speak English and whether the school uniform looks like a marching band uniform, then they assume their child is in a good school," said Panyaza Lesufi, MEC for education, at the launch of the Gauteng online application system for schools.

That's why Gauteng schools will be graded by the end of next year, Lesufi said. "Parents have no indication of whether a certain school is a good one. They have to rely on a third party." 

A scale from 1 to 5 will be used, he explained, in which "one is excellent, five is poor".

Oupa Bodibe, acting spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education, said schools will be evaluated on 9 focus points. The department will reveal what these 9 points will be at a later stage.

Schools will evaluate themselves in partnership with their district offices. 

"Schools will identify their strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats," said Bodibe. "The grading process is implemented to ensure a holistic approach so gaps can be identified and each school can get the necessary support."

This way, he says, schools will be able to perform much better. 

"The instrument that will be used to grade schools is standardised, objective and it uses built-in formulas," he continues. "That's why we expect that schools won't be graded wrongly. Schools have to realise the grading is for their own benefit." 

When asked about the costs of rolling out the grading project, Bodibe said no additional budget is required.

Paul Colditz, CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS), says it will be short-sighted to make the gradings public. "Parents will stream to those schools with higher gradings, placing a lot of pressure on those schools," he says. 

Any education department that knows what its doing would know which schools are underperforming and would automatically focus on them, Colditz continues.

"Officials often avoid the weaker schools because the problems there are just so overwhelming," he said. "Instead they'd rather visit the better schools and enjoy the cake and tea and see how well everything is going."

What do you think of the school grading system? Would it help you as a parent to make more informed decisions? Are you an educator? Tell us what you think: If you'd like to remain anonymous, please tell us.

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