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Education in crisis – FW de Klerk Foundation

Education in South Africa is in serious traouble, the FW de Klerk foundation said recently.

“Poor education lies at the root of most of South Africa’s problems, including unemployment, poverty and inequality”, it said in a statement.

The recent Limpopo textbook scandal was simply a sympton of much wider malaise. The crisis was also not because of a lack of resources. In 2011 the country spent 6 % of its gross domestic product on education.

The education system is failing to achieve basic standards of literacy and numeracy in grades three and six. This can be seen in the ranking of South Africa’s education system by the World Economic Forum as 133rd out of 142 countries.

To read more go to the SAPA article on News24 by Clicking Here!

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Education crisis ‘not Verwoerd’s fault’ – Mamphela Ramphele

The ‘monumental failure’ in South African education was not Hendrik Verwoerd’s fault, but that of the current South African government, former anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele recently said at the Educational Management Association Conference, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This is in contrast to a statement made by President Jacob Zuma in which he blamed Verwoerd for the mess in South African schools. Ramphele said children under apartheid’s “gutter” education were better educated than today.

“By jove, at least the kids could write and read. And many of them understood history and understood geography”, she said.

To read more got to Leanne Jansen’s article in The Mercury on IOL News by Clicking Here!

or to read more go to Anne Sewell’s article in the Digital Journal by Clicking Here! 

Compulsory community service for all South African graduates?

The South African government is looking at the possibility of introducing compulsory community service for all university graduates, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande recently said at the ANC’s national general council (NGC) in Durban.

The reasoning behind this imperative arises from the current compulsory community service performed by medical doctors after completing their degrees.” Why only do this for doctors”, he said.

Nzimande also emphasized other imperatives as well. He suggested a whole range of roles that young graduates can play, for example  accountants, engineers etc who can be used by rural (and) local government.

Community service can also help youg graduates acquire the necessary skills and work experience.

A lot of unemployed graduates are unable to find work, and this will give them opportunity. Then there is also the aspect of graduates giving something back to the country.

To read more go to Stuart Graham’s article on News 24 by Clicking Here!

Resistance against transformation at universities will not be tolerated anymore says Minister Blade Nzimande

The government is not going to tolerate resistance against transformation at universities anymore, Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday 10 June 2009. 

He referred to The Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions, and said he had considered and accepted the report and its major findings, and found it deeply disturbing.  “While the report commends institutions for initiatives on change, the report unfortunately states that discrimination, in particular with regard to racism and sexism, is still pervasive in our institutions”, Dr Nzimande said.

Admitting that there is no doubt that significant policy development has indeed occurred towards transformation, the next important step will be to make those policies work.

Nzimande said further that he expects co-operation from Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and he will soon be meeting with them to consider a number of issues. These included developing a transformation compact between institutions and the department. He wants them to consider that vice-chancellors be held responsible for transformation and that this be included in their performance management contracts. The extend to which the curriculum has been transformed to play a role in the socialisation of students with regards to values in the Constitution and broader participation in society, should also be considered

He singled out the The University of the Free State as the institution where racism was the worst, and expressed hope that the University of Stellenbosch will decide, without intervention, to stop using Afrikaans to exclude some students.

Nzimande also announced that the government plans to form a new monitoring- and oversight body to complement the work of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), to keep an eye on transformation issues at universities in South Africa. This oversight body will be based in the Higher Education and Training Department, and details regarding its composition, structure, and brief will be released in the near future. He emphasized that the new body will not be involved in witch-hunts, but that universities will have to be held accountable. The allocation of financial assistance could be used for example, to ensure that universities use these funds for “pressing issues”.

Nzimande stressed that universities should have academic freedom and autonomy, but this should not be an impediment on the way to transformation.

To read more on this go to the article on Politicsweb by Clicking Here!

To read the Afrikaans article by Pieter du Toit on this in Beeld Newspaper Click Here!

Angie Motshekga appointed as Minister of Basic Education

Mrs Angelina Matsie “Angie” Motshekga (born 19 JuneMotshekga  1955) has been appointed as Minister of Basic Education by the South African president elect Mr Jacob Zuma.  She is the Deputy Chair: ANC Gauteng, a Member of the Executive Council of the Gauteng Provincial Education Department, ANC Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature,  and Deputy Secretary of the ANC Women’s League. She holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand. For more information on her go to 24.com Who’s who by Clicking Here!

ANC government plans to split the Department of Education

ANC Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe confirmed during a meeting of the Progressive Business Forum, that the ANC government that is installed after the election, plans to overhaul the education ministry, splitting it into two or three separate ministries under different ministers.

This means that one minister will focus solely on the schooling system, and another will look with a specialised focus at tertiary education institutions, which could include reversing former education minister Kader Asmal’s mergers of key institutions.

To read more go to the Finance 24 article by Clicking Here! 

Debating the state of Education in South Africa

On 29 January 2009 the Sunday Times Columnist, Professor Jonathan Jansen challenged all parties to answer a series of questions in a column entitled Vital Questions for Politicians

1. What will your party do if an MEC for education in one of the provinces shows blatant disregard for a scheduled meeting of the minister of education to discuss the opening of the school year, and trots off to attend the court proceedings for the president of her political party?
2. Given the acknowledged failure to deliver in the provinces on noble policies at the national level, would you appoint people to critical positions on the basis of their loyalty to the party, or on the basis of their competence?
3. What would you do if the largest teachers’ union, an ally of Cosatu (which itself is a member of the alliance), decides, like they did before, to close down and disrupt schools for weeks or months in the interest of their teachers – but to the devastation of pupil s and learning in our poorest schools?
4. Given the evidence that poor leadership is to blame in many of the country’s most dysfunctional schools, would you fire serially ineffective principals despite their loyalties to the dominant party?
5. Given the additional evidence of schools in each province that repeatedly fail masses of learners, are you prepared to appoint an administrator to take over seriously malfunctioning schools – just as the legislation permits malfunctioning universities to be taken over by government?
6. Given further evidence that in many of the under-performing schools, the problem is the teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter, would you act against the protectionist instincts of the teachers’ unions and test every teacher to see whether they know enough to teach our children?
7. Given the increasing demand for higher education in the country, would you “uncap” the limits imposed on university enrolments by the education department so that all young people who qualify can enjoy access to advanced training?
8. Given that the children of the middle classes start with a huge advantage in grade 1 because they attended excellent preschools, will you make and fund a compulsory, quality preschool for all children?
9. Given the fact that the 2008 Mathematical Literacy paper contained a majority of questions common to much lower school grades, are you prepared to admit that the standard of education in the country is appallingly low?
10. Given the fact that the most competent teachers in the deep rural areas are often from India and Zimbabwe, are you prepared to permit a massive inflow of foreign teachers to help – in the short term – particularly with mathematics and science teaching in our poorest schools?
11. Given the obvious incapacity of the Eastern Cape province to offer even a modicum of quality education to the majority living in that province -despite the rapid turnovers in the heads of department and MECs – is your party prepared to petition the national government to take over education in that province in the interest of the pupils?

The ANC have responded to these questions in its weekly column. To read the ANCs answers go to Ray Hartley’s Sunday Times Blog The Wild Frontier by Clicking Here!
or

Go directly to the ANCs web site by Clicking Here