Poor ma­tric marks are the re­sult of 12 years of bad ed­u­ca­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE only three Rs ob­tained through the cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem have been Rot­ten, Rot­ten and Rot­ten.

This is very much a chicken-an­degg syn­drome. Pay teach­ers well and get bet­ter qual­ity? I’m not con­vinced.

Teach­ers are born and if pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion don’t run through their veins, they have lost the plot be­fore they have even be­gun. We all need and yearn for a good in­come, but no­body has ever cho­sen teach­ing as a ca­reer be­cause it pays well.

The grass­roots-level of ed­u­ca­tion in our pub­lic schools is just not firm enough. What­ever hap­pened to the use of the English lan­guage? Learn­ers are un­able to write es­says any longer without SMS-ab­bre­vi­ated lingo. They lack knowl­edge of gram­mat­i­cal rules, syn­tax and sen­tence construction.

They don’t visit li­braries and read books, but rather veg­e­tate in front of the tele­vi­sion, and use MXit and spellchecks. Of course, we need to move with the times, but we can’t cheat our chil­dren of ba­sic fun­da­men­tals.

Ev­ery­thing has gone out of the win­dow in to­day’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. The hid­den agenda in days gone by of po­lite and re­spect­ful chil­dren is se­ri­ously lack­ing. Teach­ers lack dis­ci­pline. When dis­ci­pline is ab­sent, teach­ers are un­able to teach and learn­ers to learn.

Why is it ac­cept­able for chil­dren to sit and “work” with mu­sic in their ears? A trite ex­pla­na­tion is it helps the ADHD child to con­cen­trate. Noth­ing is fur­ther from the truth. Such be­hav­iour was never thought of in days gone by, when the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem pro­duced well-ed­u­cated peo­ple.

Our chil­dren are not re­ceiv­ing the firm and solid foun­da­tion of past teach­ing meth­ods and cur­ricu­lums. The sys­tem of Read­ing, ’Rit­ing and ’Rith­metic” pro­duced a far bet­ter stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion. Chil­dren of par­ents who can’t af­ford the ou­tra­geous fees of pri­vate schools – which do pro­vide bet­ter teach­ing – are un­fairly de­prived. It is grossly un­fair that lack of fi­nance equates to a lower level of ed­u­ca­tion. The child’s aca­demic or cog­ni­tive po­ten­tial is a sep­a­rate is­sue. The fo­cus should be on equal op­por­tu­nity for a sound ed­u­ca­tion.

The lack of good ed­u­ca­tion paral­y­ses our chil­dren’s fu­ture. Young adults may not re­alise ma­tric is merely a launch­ing pad and not a full stop in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. They may wake up as un­e­d­u­cated adults with re­grets they didn’t fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion. But what chance do they have without a solid start – paving the jour­ney to well-ed­u­cated, sound peo­ple – which should have be­gun 12 years (or more) be­fore ma­tric?

Iron­i­cally, the out­cry only oc­curs with the release of ma­tric re­sults at the end of the aca­demic year. It seems to be the only mea­sure the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment has to as­sess where the loop­holes are in the sys­tem.

Is there no method of as­sess­ment through­out the year to catch learn­ers (and teach­ers) be­fore they fall?

Where are the school in­spec­tors who used to as­sess the teach­ers (who win­dow-dressed in time for them)?

Will mouths drop open, aghast yet again, at the end of 2010 when re­sults re­flect the short­falls? Money has been poured into the World Cup, as op­posed to fund­ing ed­u­ca­tion (and hous­ing), and terms are be­ing cut short.

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