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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!

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! 

South Africa: Higher Education challenges of racism and access

Chika Sehoole, Professor at University of Pretoria, 22 July 2012, University World News

“Although admissions figures for black students and numbers of black staff have improved in the post-apartheid era, many black people still feel excluded within the university system and there are problems with a lack of available places to meet the demand for higher education. At the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, South Africa’s higher education sector made national and international news headlines.

At the end of 2011, the University of Pretoria was hit by allegations of apparent racism among its staff. A black engineering professor alleged systematic harassment and victimisation, on racial grounds.

At the beginning of the 2012 academic year, a black parent was killed in a stampede at the gates of the University of Johannesburg, where crowds of prospective students had gathered in the quest to gain admission into this university.

These two incidents – allegations of racism and the quest for access to higher education, especially by black people – are just two examples of the challenges that South Africa experiences in meeting some of the priority areas identified in 1994 by the post-apartheid government.”

To read the rest of Chika Sehoole’s article on University World News, Click Here!

Education will be the key to the SKA rollout

In a recent article by Duncan Alfreds, he stressed the critical importance of education standards to the rollout of science programmes, as well as the need to accelerate the development of technical skills that will be needed for South Africa to deliver its share of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope to be erected in the Northern Cape Province.  

Currently the South African education sector does not deliver graduates with the critical skills to help in the rollout of the project

70.2 % of students out of a total of 496 090 passed matric in 2011, and of these only 24.3 % obtained a university entrance.

Prof Nithaya Chetty, Group Executive of Astronomy at the National Research Foundation (NRF), and researcher at the University of Pretoria, stressed in an interview with News24 that although universities are seeing an increase in number of applications their abilities are below par, especially mathematical skills, which will be essential if the country wants to reach  its targets. He feels there should be accelerated programmes to teach technical skills to ensure that there are support staff in place to support engineers in projects like the SKA.

To read more go to Duncan Alfreds’ article on News 24 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!

South Africa loses increasing numbers of teachers via emigration

In a recent presentation titled “South African teacher migration: an issue of political debate“, Rian de Villiers from the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria indicated that South Africa loses approximately 4000 teachers each year to emigration. This means that new teachers will have to be aggresively recruited and produced to curb the decline in numbers of teachers.

De Villiers showed that teachers loss in South Africa was due to attrition, career change and massive recruitment by foreign countries.

Factors which seem to be pushing teachers out of SA were:

  • Career dissatisfaction
  • Low salaries
  • Unemployment

Factors attracting teachers to other countries include:

  • Higher salaries
  • Professional development
  • Travel opportunities
  • Friends and family overseas
  • Recruitment agency persuasion.

Possible solutions given by De Villiers include:

  • Recruiting retired and unemployed subject experts
  • Having a compulsory one-year internship after graduation
  • Making more bursary schemes available for prospective student teachers
  • Monitoring teacher recruitment agencies closely
  • Introducing international relocation grants
  • Eliminating negative perceptions about the teaching profession
  • Improving teachers’ work conditions

To read more:

Go to Michelle Jones’ article in the Star Newspaper by Clicking Here!   

Go to Michelle Jones and Leanne Jansen’s article in The Mercury by Clicking Here! 

To access Rian De Villiers’ presentation Click Here!

SARUA brings out a new report on Higher Education in the SADC region

The Southern African Regional Universities Association(SARUA) recently brought out a report on Higher Education in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The report is titled Building Higher education Scenarios 2025: a strategic agenda for development in SADC.

To download the report Click Here!