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Plans for workbooks in South African schools criticised

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s plan to spend R750m on workbooks for all primary school pupils in public schools was called into question recently by research that shows a workbook makes no more difference to educational performance than a textbook. The idea of giving children workbooks was first put forward by Ms Motshekga at the end of last year when she listed several changes to the school curriculum, but an initial promise to make workbooks available for the start of this school year was withdrawn when a R522m tender for 45-million pupil workbooks and parent guidelines for monitoring homework was recalled due to shoddy work.

“It is not workbooks that make the difference … (research shows) it is the presence of books that does,” JET Education Services senior researcher Nick Taylor said recently at a Pretoria workshop on what could be done to strengthen education in South Africa.

To read more go to Sue Blaine’s article “South Africa: research challenges plan to supply workbooks” in Business Day on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

OR read Alison Moody’s article “SOUTH AFRICA: Row over research into school books”  in University World News Africa Edition by Clicking Here!

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Nick Taylor’s paper on what is wrong in South African Education and how to fix it.

Nick Taylor, CEO of JET Education Services, presented a paper on 21 November 2008 to the CSR in Education Conference, TSiBA Education, Cape Town, on “What’s wrong with our schools and how to fix them”.

The paper outlines the three main shortcomings in the system, attempts to understand why these problems are endemic in South African schools, and suggests a way forward in the interests of putting all schools onto a more productive path. 

According to the paper three features of the school system combine to undermine effective teaching and learning: poor time management, insufficient attention to text, and very low levels of teacher subject knowledge. With respect to these three factors our teachers and schools are significantly worse off than those many of our much poorer neighbours in the region.

He went on to explain the importance of each of theses areas in achieving quality education, and to analyse the reasons for the shortcomings, basing his discussion on Durkheim’s forms of social organisation.

He went on to explain the importance of each of theses areas in achieving quality education, and to analyse the reasons for the shortcomings, basing his discussion on Durkheim’s forms of social organisation.

To read a copy of the paper Click Here!