SACMEQ reviewed the quality of four primary-school inputs, namely basic learning materials, mathematic s textbooks, learner-teacher ratios and class size.
Its findings include the following:
- Basic learning materials (BLMs) – at least one exercise book, something to write with, and a ruler – are essential to effective learner participation in the classroom. Only 82% of grade 6 learners had one exercise book, a pen or pencil and a ruler, with noticeable provincial variations. In the Eastern Cape only 67% had BLMs, compared to 93% in Limpopo. Only 36% of learners in grade 6 had sole use of a maths textbook, a number which is down from 41% in 2000.
- Learner-teacher ratios are critical to better quality education. In 2007 the learner: teacher ratio was 34 learners per teacher – within the benchmark of 40 set by the Department of Education.
- Class sizes averaged 44 learners per class in 2007, thus exceeding the 40-learner benchmark.
- Overall, one in every five learners did not have the three basic learning materials.