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Dysfunctional schools must be debated urgently in parliament – DA

The statement by the CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools that approximately 90% of schools are dysfunctional, confirms the need for an urgent parliamentary debate on the state of our education system, the Democratic Alliance (DA) recently said.

The DA suggested a solution-driven parliamentary debate that can provide a platform for an honest and open discussion on education where representatives from all political parties can exchange ideas on pragmatic solutions to important challenges in education.

Topics of such a debate according to them should include:

  • Plans to stem teacher attrition and fill teacher vacancies
  • Addressing basic infrastructure and sanitation backlogs: 2 401 of South Africa’s 24 739 public schools do not have water, 3 544 do not have electricity and 11 450 are still using pit latrines, 22 938 schools do not having stocked libraries, 21 021 do not have any laboratory facilities and 19 037 do not have computer centres (statistics from the National Education Infrastructure Management System Report 2011)
  • Textbook and workbook delivery, e.g. the Limpopo textbook crisis and further reports on book dumping and burning and books delivered in incorrect languages
  • Educator accountability and performance

To read more go to Annette Lovemore’s article on allAfrica by Clicking Here!

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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!

Motshekga unveils Master Plan for Education in South Africa

The South African Department of Basic Education has developed an action plan to co-ordinate and guide all interventions in the department in order to turn the education system around.

The plan, which will be known as Schooling 2025: The Department of Basic Education’s Action Plan, will provide long-term solutions to the challenges facing the department, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The plan will make provision for the monitoring of progress against a set of measurable indicators covering all aspects of basic education, including teacher recruitment and retention, learner enrolment and well-being, infrastructure, school funding, mass literacy and educational quality.

“The plan will establish key outcomes and performance deliverables for the entire education system, including the national and provincial departments.
“It will commit provinces and provincial education departments to clear, agreed-to outcomes and ensure that all in the system are accountable for attaining these outcomes,” Motshekga said.

She reiterated that South Africa’s learning outcomes continued to be unsatisfactory.

“All local and international assessments are agreed that far too many of our learners, especially African learners, do not perform at the required level.

“We have identified the underlying factors and we are determined to work systematically to resolve them,” said Motshekga.

She added that the adoption of an outcomes approach in implementing government’s priorities, announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address, will ensure that the work of government is measured according to outcomes.

“The outcomes approach enables us to set measurable targets and deliverables, against which we and South Africa can monitor our progress in addressing the challenges in education that remain.”

This article was obtained from BuaNews Online  and was compiled by the South African Government Communication and Information System.

Fixing South African schools a 30 year task

Graeme Bloch, an education specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa recently wrote an article in the newspaper, Pretoria News about the dire straight South African schools are in. According to him a  toxic mix of problems keeps South Africa’s schools and educational institutions in a state of disaster, neither able to meet the skills needed in a growing economy nor able to provide jobs opportunities to youths.

In the article he highlights failures in the SA education system and discusses many of the problems South African schools face.

According to the Bloch fixing education will be a 30-year task, which must start now, with urgency.
Everyone should be on board, unified around a vision for a learning nation.  Priorities should be identified, phases for restoration should be stipulated, and a starting point chosen.  The debate around this should not be once-off, but a process.

Bloch further highlights some elements that could help focus such a restoration plan.

– “Teachers. How do we motivate the teachers? With training and clear texts, quality can rise. Through a mixture of encouragement and support – where necessary ‘gently’ holding recalcitrants’ feet to the fire, teachers will be central to the national endeavour. The best of our generations should aspire to teach”.

– “Departments must do their part, especially at provincial level. Fill vacant and ‘acting’ posts, manage properly, deliver on time and at the right place. The focus should be on management and follow through, responsibility and accountability”.

– “Society can rally around to ensure government structures fulfill their tasks”.

– “Corporate social investment spending is increasingly focused in clusters of schools over a consistent and long period across a range of programmes of support”.

– “Many graduates can organise to plough back into schools and help in a systematic way”.

– “Community programmes such as Proudly Manenberg, Tikkun, or efforts like those by the parents of Piet N Aphane High pupils in rural Limpopo, show that schools can be improved at grassroots level”.

– “A huge change in our mindset, accompanied by a massive effort, is needed to improve the quality of education, especially in the poorer schools where the majority of the disadvantaged are”.

To read the Pretoria News Article Click Here!