Focus on quality rather than quantity
MINISTER of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has officially announced the matric results, and the class of 2016 has done us proud.
That said, many pupils who are able and capable will join the queue of the unemployed.
High fees at higher education institutions bar many from furthering their studies, and this will continue for many years to come.
But I digress. The government pumps a lot of money into education; it doesn’t rate among the best in the world and is even rated lower than countries that have far smaller GDPs than ours.
This shows that throwing money at the problem is not the solution. The problem is the government is concerned about quantity (numbers) and not quality. That results in our education being of inferior quality. Hence we don’t innovate and invent new things.
That means the country will continue relying on other countries for solutions.
In addition, the education system doesn’t prepare pupils for the job market and entrepreneurship.
The economy is ailing and needs a serious boost, and entrepreneurship is part of the answer. Yet we are producing fewer entrepreneurs.
The pertinent question is: Are we bankrupt of ideas on how to solve our education problems?
The answer is a resounding “no”.
The government is not willing to listen to anyone, particularly experts.
It seems to enjoy hearing its own voice. In essence, there is no political will to solve the challenges we are facing in education. But this is nothing new. During the apartheid era, the education system favoured the minority as opposed to the majority people of this country.
Black people had inferior education and few attended university.
We continue to suffer the consequences of that unjust policy even today.
Interestingly, the same inferior apartheid-era education produced great leaders such as Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela and Zephania Mothopeng.
There is no reason why it cannot produce more great leaders in our democracy.
I know it offends many when we compare the education system of today to that of the apartheid era, and understandably so.
Apartheid was a diabolic system. But it forms part of the country’s history. So we cannot run away from it. And we’ll keep making reference to it.
That said, pupils will have to make the most of the education system, even if it’s not rated among the best in the world. The youngsters will have to use it to better their lives and provide solutions to the country’s problems.
There is no other way. Joburg SOME years back, Japan set out a 10-year plan to make all its citizens literate and numerate. It was a resounding success.
Pondering this, I concluded that one of the differences between Japanese and South African teachers is that in Japan teachers are highly respected. Our teachers, and their profession, are generally held in low regard.
This notion, reflective of a capitalist society, is reinforced