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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! 

Metcalfe Report on Verification of Textbook Deliveries in Limpopo, released

The investigation team, led by former higher education director general Mary Metcalfe, aimed at verifying how many textbooks Limpopo schools have received, were unable to make an accurate assessment of how many books have reached schools as yet.

The team measured deliveries at 10% of the province’s 4 000 schools under the watchful eye of unions, the Congress of South African Students, school governing body associations and the South African Principals’ Association.

Although the team could not complete a full audit of deliveries it did present some “very concerning” findings.

The team found that as of July 3 “only 48% of the books had been delivered to the schools, with 52% of the books still sitting in the district warehouse”, despite claims by the government Department of Basic Education, at a joint briefing with Section 27 on June 28, that approximately 98% of textbooks had been delivered to schools.

To read more go to Victoria John’s article in the Mail & Guardian by Clicking Here!

To download the Metcalfe Report Click Here!

UP rector opens Groenkloof Campus Infrastructure Development

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, UP principal and vice chancellor, left and Prof Irma Eloff, dean of Faculty of Education, right

During the recent opening of the new infrastructure development at the Groenkloof Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP), Professor Cheryl de la Rey, vice chancellor and principal stressed the importance of producing quality teachers who will be able to excel in the subjects that they teach. De la Rey also stressed her concern about the decline in the numbers of teachers in the country and the importance of reversing this trend. She added that education was the means to transform the country.

According to De la Rey investment in education is vital and that UP has to be responsive to the needs of South Africa and the African continent

 Some of the major building projects include 3 new high technology lecture theatres with 350; 350 and 400 seats; an open air amphi theatre (boma) next to the Groenkloof dam; lifts; bathrooms and a special passage for people with disabilities; science laboratories; 121 computer working stations; bathrooms and the upgrading of many facilities on the  Groenkloof Campus.

New lecture theatre

Boma

 

 

 

 

 

This new infrastructure development  will provide the necessary cutting edge equipment and facilities needed to ensure the production of quality teachers.

SA Basic Education Department to follow a more ‘scripted approach’ to teacher development

The South African Department of Basic Education has decided to follow a more “scripted approach” to the development of teachers, Deputy basic Education Minister Enver Surty announced recently. The first annual national assessments (ANA) have provided the department with important information to assist in identifying areas where urgent attention was needed to improve learner’s success levels.

The scripted appoach according to Surty will include:

  • training and support to teachers to help them manage and use efficient methods to teach specific content areas which were identified in the assessments as areas that are particularly challenging to learners. Critical to the success of this new approach will be more targeted, subject specific teacher education and development that will improve teacher content knowledge;
  • strengthening the campaign to attract young people to the teaching profession through the Funza Lushaka Bursary programme;
  • develop performance management contracts with clear performance targets with principals and deputy principals;
  • strengthening the appointment procedures for school principals;
  • strengthening district support for schools

Surty also shared the following resolutions on basic education from the recent government lekgotla:

  • acceleration of the provision of universal basic services such as the eradication of infrastructure backlogs, provision of sporting facilities, and national planning and procurement for provision of infrastructure, textbooks and stationary;
  • improving, monitoring, support and accountability in the schooling system, including mechanisms for improved teacher accountability , and involvement in school improvement activities. 

This posting was based on a Sapa article published on News24 on 23 August 2011.

To read the original Sapa article Click Here!

Education departments are failing to deliver basic services to primary schools

A report released by Transparency International (TI) titled “Mapping Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa” shows that provincial education departments in South Africa are failing to deliver solid basic services to primary schools in South Africa.

The report found that schools received their budget allocations late, resulting in schools not having the required means to run their services effectively, and this had particular impact on the poorer non-fee-paying schools.

The report also showed that there was poor enforcement of rules and regulations by education departments, which led to weaknesses in the effectiveness and legitimacy of their work.

Other issued raised was:

  • concern by schools’ leadership over embezzlement at provincial level
  • low levels of participation, accountability and transparency at school level
  • lack of of participation and support from parents
  • staff absenteeism
  • infrastructure (15 % of schools had no electricity and 10% no water supply; one out of two learners indicated that they are not always provided with a desk)
  • sexual harassment and safety (one out of four learners felt that schools are unsafe and that rape and violence are major problems)
  • lack of knowledge of rules and regulations governing some key transactions at school level

To read the original SAPA article on News24 Click Here!

To read the report “Mapping Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa” , Click Here!

Study show that low quality of schooling to the poor is reinforcing racial and economic inequities

A new study, “Low Quality Education as Poverty Trap”, done by the Social Policy Research Group at Stellenbosch University found that the schooling available to children in poor communities is reinforcing rather than challenging the racial and economic inequities created by South Africa’s apartheid-era policies.

Instead of providing much needed opportunities, South Africa’s ailing education system is keeping children from poor households at the back of the job queue and locking families into poverty for another generation

Using newly available data sets, including those linking information on income with numeracy skills, the report analyzed how low-quality tuition in the post-apartheid education system is perpetuating “exclusion and marginalization”.

To read more go to IRIN’s (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) web site by Clicking Here!

To read the Social Policy Research Group’s report Click Here!