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?..

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