LETTER: Rethink on education needed
Schoolchildren are let down again and again
Suffer the little children, they among the best-dressed kids in Africa, in their proud uniforms, as they exit the minibuses at school, full of expectation, and about to be let down yet again.
They will learn that the three Rs are in a state of permanent truancy. It has been like this for decades. All they get are platitudes, and sometimes a morning sandwich. Who is to blame for the shambles?
Surely not beleaguered Angie Motshekga, minister of nothing, for that is what she is. Her mandate extends to the front door of Sol Plaatje House. No further. After that, it is the SACP-Sadtu alliance all the way down, with its cadres effecting control from the department of basic education into the provinces.
Nic Spaull (“Look to Brazil for its remarkable turnaround of pupils’ reading skills”, 18 May) provided his articulate summation of the scale of the disaster, but misses two vital points. The first is the above. Provinces are responsible for schooling, and once the education allocations reach a provincial treasury, it is game over for change.
Second, is to address the question of how it is that a teaching workforce that is 95% fully qualified delivers such miserable reading outcomes? The “backlog” of underqualification was dealt with years ago by means of the simple artifice of providing a top-up year to move the teachers to REQV 14.
Success! Fully qualified. Entitled to a salary increment. And the universities who provided the certificated training? Oh happy days, they aced it. Another cash cow milked. They should hang their heads in shame. What upgrading did they perform? Of salary packages, achieving the distinction that our teachers are among the highest paid in the world. A head teacher pulls in some R1.4m. Pay one, pay all.
So the solution is more training. Really? By whom? By the universities who failed the kids by pushing through teachers who remain unfit for purpose? A complete rethink is needed. For a start, anyone who performs a training role must have recent, relevant, proven experience at the level to which they train.
So start with training the trainers. That is the path to success.
Independent innovation adviser
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