New plan to rate all Gauteng schools using a ‘hotel star’ system

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) says it will introduce a grading system, similar to the star grading used by hotels, to rate all the schools in the province.

The new system will help parents choose the right schools for their children and assist the department in finding where interventions are needed.

The plan was announced by Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesfui, presenting the GDE 2019 Academic Year in Review on Tuesday (3 December)

According to Lesufi, the department has managed to build 50 new schools in the province over the last five years, which flies in the face of accusations that the province’s online registration and placement problems stem from the government’s inability to provide enough schools.

Instead, Lesufi said, the problem here is rooted in misconceptions and perceptions relating to certain schools and the areas they are built-in.

New schools being built by the department are not reaching their full capacity, the MEC said, because most of them are in the townships and people don’t want to take their children there.

“We believe there are good schools that are performing very well in our province, but parents don’t want to put their children in those schools because they are in the townships and they think are not performing,” he said.

To counter this challenge, he said that the GDE would in 2020 introduce a project of ranking of schools in the province using a 5-grade system.

“Like hotels – like you get a five-star or four-star hotel, three-star hotel – all our schools in Gauteng will be rated in that fashion,” Lesufi said.

The grading would carry the following meanings:

  • 5 indicating it is a premium school;
  • 4 indicating it is a good school;
  • 3 indicating it is an average school;
  • 2 indicating it is a bad school;
  • 1 indicating that urgent changes are needed at the school.

“These (1-star) schools are where we will recommend you don’t send your child there, because it is performing poorly,” the MEC said.

Lesufi said that the grading system will also encourage parents to defend their child’s school’s grading or to intervene at schools to try and improve it – but added that the primary focus will be to help the Department of Education to know where to intervene.

“You won’t have a one-glove-fits-all intervention, but a specific intervention that will assist those schools in dealing with their work,” he said.

The MEC did not go into detail around what schools would have to achieve to reach a specific grade.

Lesufi said that the provincial department is facing huge demand in areas for new schools – including Centurion, Alberton, Tshwane North, and Johannesburg South, among others – and these regions will assist the department in grading schools.

“Because when we grade schools, people know which school is good and which school is not good. We really believe this intervention will assist us and parents deal with this matter,” he said.

The full brief is embedded below:

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New plan to rate all Gauteng schools using a ‘hotel star’ system