There is an official document doing the rounds that comes from a powerful committee of the department of basic education containing a “proposal to implement automatic promotion in the foundation phase”.

Depending on whom one speaks to, the proposal either exists as a discussion document or it can be regarded as fait accompli. Let me be clear: if this policy is implemented, it would be the final nail in the coffin of an already collapsing primary school system.

Think about it. A child fails in Grade 1 and is promoted to Grade 2. The child fails again and is promoted to Grade 3. By the time these promoted children get to Grade 4 there would be large numbers of children who are illiterate and innumerate putting pressure on the system to continue the madness of promotion into the next phase of schooling.

I cannot think of a greater disaster that can be visited on primary schools, where already most of our children (almost 80%) cannot read at the grade level. Why would the government do this to poor children?..

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now