The sound management of schools has been prioritized by the current government as critical to support the goal of the National Development Plan in improving the poor quality of education, especially in rural and poor communities.
The PMDP, which has led the way in school management programs for a number of years now, has recently completed part of a longer term initiative with the Mpumalanga Department of Education with excellent results. On average learner outcomes at G12 level were 6.5% higher than those of the 320 school involved in the program from four districts in the province.
Reports from the Department have been very positive particularly around the manner in which the program weaves curriculum management into the core business of the school at all levels. This was echoed by Mr. Mkhwanazi, Chief Director: Curriculum in the province who said “From today we will pay particular interest in the PMDP from Curriculum…You cannot separate the performance of a school from its management.”
The PMDP which has been introduced at over 3000 schools in three Provinces is one of the few programs which operates at scale and at cost per school which can be sustained by the Department. The program provides focused training and structured training around selected management practices which have a demonstrated impact on learner outcomes. Led by Performance Solutions Africa and PwC, the SACE accredited program is moderated by the University of UKZN.
A key challenge encountered in the Province has been the backlog of ‘progressed’ learners who have impacted negatively on learner pass rates. The scale of the progressed learner challenge is indicated in the graphs below – the first shows the provincial results in four regions all dropped below those of the previous years while the scale of progressed learners was over 20,000 pupils in some districts.
In the case of the PMDP schools however despite the increased numbers of progressed learners all districts improved on their results in the previous year – some by over 7%.
The impact of progressed learners on matric results is demonstrated well in the case of the Free State province who dealt with the backlog some years earlier than other provinces and were as a result, able to post the best set of results for the country in 2016.
At the PMDP Awards ceremony held on 22 July 2017, Dr Mthethwa, Director: Teacher Development and Governance praised the PMDP for bringing benefits not only to the principals in the schools but also to the circuit managers of the DBE who worked as part of the program.
In her speech she stated “The PMDP model of the program is very, very strong… a great strength is working in partnerships – we have been given the opportunity to work side by side on this program… we began to speak from one script. There has been a deep sense of being solution driven here. The program has had a very strong research base, which to us is a plus… When reflecting, we are looking at systemic capacity building that has been imparted.”