Teachers in South Africa have won an important battle in their fight to put a stop to high stakes testing in the country. As we earlier this month, the largest teaching union, SADTU, instructed its members not to administer the tests, known as Annual National Assessments (ANAs), which were due to be administered this week. As a statement from the union said at the time: 'High stakes tests like ANA can, and do, cause learners and teachers to focus their efforts on maximizing test scores which result in teachers “teaching to the test”'. The situation was exacerbated by the complete failure of the government to negotiate with unions about changes to the nature of the tests, which would have been used to assess the 'competence' of schools and teachers.

At the last minute, the education department has decided to postpone the tests till next year, so that the government can have discussions with teachers unions about the tests. All three teaching unions have welcomed the move, although only SADTU had advocated a boycott. In a text message to members, SADTU said: 'Today you stand tall knowing that you have made a difference and a positive contribution to people’s education.'

It remains to be seen what will happen when and if the tests are re-scheduled in February 2016. However the issue of standardised testing, which is being used as a tool to create an education market and create spaces for privatisation, is central to the global struggle against education 'reform.' It was most recently a feature of the teachers' strike and performance related pay is also an issue in the ongoing teachers strike. South African teachers have won an important victory in this global struggle.