MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 29
Article views: 551
Latest Badges:

View all Elimu's badges.

Thoughts on education policy

01 January 2014, 13:30

This is a discussion on sensible and hopefully in-depth education policy. No quips about "Showerhead's lack of a Matric" because that won't help anybody pass. Some of these points are obvious, others aren't so obvious. I hope we can focus on the latter and all sensible comments are appreciated.
INTRODUCTION Obviously our education system is a mess - we don't even have to go into it. Our opposition parties have some proposals on some general principles and first steps which I think will go a long way. Safer schools, qualified teachers, lower teacher to student ratio. I applaud them but I hope we can help to discuss some more in-depth, less obvious solution to education problems.
Agang's Policy: Policy:'s website still needs a lot of work.
THE CURRICULUMFirst, Science. So we've got the qualified teachers and stocked the labs and everything. My question: should Physical Science be one subject or should we separate Physics and Chemistry. I think this exposes a fundamental question relevant to the whole system:-- Are we trying to develop well-roudned and knowledgable citizens (in which case they should be one subject because together they give a powerful, basic description of the physical world) or are we trying to prepare students for an effective varsity career (in which case they should be separate to give more time for students to study and go more in depth in one than the other). 
The same question repeats for Biology. If I want to be a game ranger, it is important that I need to know a little bit from all biology, but biology is so vast in scale and scope that in the same class you can get two people with wildly differing opinions on what it is they are studying. If we want to make well rounded students then we should keep it one subject. However, we aren't doing our future doctors any favours by testing population ecology and human impact on the environment as roughly 50% of their grade (which it was this year, in Grade 11).
I think that most of this 'basic' information should be taught earlier on and high school should be the stepping stone to specializing. Firstly because SP is very easy currently and if we make it a tad more sophisticated earlier, hopefully students will be prepared for High School better. Secondly, most people forget this stuff within a decade of matriculation so I don't see the point of spending time and money on what will not help them as soon as possible. Obviously, this is debatable.
Next up: Languages. The DA reckon students should have the right to learn in their language of choice (the constitution adds 'Wherever possible') but I think that's just politicking so as not to offend our highly tribal society. I personally don't think the Afrikaans tribe is doing anybody any favours by allowing their kids to be educated in Afrikaans, and likewise for the Zulu or Venda or whomever (although it really is mostly Afrikaans which is supported across the whole syllabus). English should be the medium of instruction for all subjects at all levels.
Furthermore, I think we should get rid of the 'First Additional Language' category. Majority of students have no interest and simply fail it (despite being brilliant in other subjects) whilst those that have interest could simply learn it somewhere else. The only language taught in school should be English. English literature and all other languages should be separate subjects. I'm not 100% on this idea which I why I hope for vigorous debate on languages. But removing FAL means more teaching time for other subjects and less failing. I doubt it will erode national unity though.
This is not to say we shouldn't value languages and diversity! But I just don't think it's currently a priority such that it should be a compulsory subject. Also, if you want your son to learn Science in Zulu or Afrikaans, go buy a popular science magazine in it. And if there aren't any, well it goes to show that these same societies aren't encouraging science within their own people - why should the state do so then?
Scrap Life Orientation. Almost all of it's topics (from AIDS to Democracy) can be taught in the context of most other subjects.
OTHER THOUGHTSThere was a suggestion from a teacher of mine that our social benefits related to children should be directly linked to school. All students should be given a student ID and stores can be allowed to give discounts to students. If you want child grant it can be facilitated by the school - if the child is not attending school the family gets no grant, etc.
I also suggest we should promote private catering companies to do work in schools. Yes, lots of money, but we produce the most gold in the world and our President steals money to build mansions - I think we can afford investing in our students. In too many schools teachers are responsible for cooking, instead we should have a public private partnership between store owners, caterers and schools. Here's what I envision:-- Shoppers at Pick 'n Pay are given the option to pay a certain percentage of their purchase to the store to help them buy food and what not for impoverished schools. Better than giving the money to the government. The stores also give the food at a discounted price and get to parade as being in support of children to the community.-- Catering companies hire local unemployed to cook proper meals for the children - this should take the burden off of families and also should attract more children to school. (Obviously we need to ensure there is no funny business on subsidized food). Helen Zille came up with the idea that even more than lunch, schools should serve breakfast to provide energy for the rest of the day, and encourage kids to get to school early in the morning.***I'm pretty sure the economics of this plan are probably terrible. But is it fixable?
*******************************Well, that's everything I've got. Pretty meaty, I know, but people are willing to write hundreds of words just to insult Julius Malema on a personal capacity and to read pages worth of trivial debate between atheism and Christianity. Seeing as we're heading to an election year, and we have a few parties that are starting to look like they want to be policy based (e.g Agang, the new Collective for Democracy), why not discuss something relevant, worthwhile, and complex.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Not voting is stupid!

By not voting you are saying to the current political party in power “Well done, you are doing a great job.” Read more...

2 comments 50 views
Submitted by
Go Gauteng,Go!

Allister Sparks published an article in the Cape Times (09.04.2014) covering the proposals that the DA rising star in Gauteng Mmusi Maimane, made before a packed audience of 8000 people. Read more...

3 comments 324 views
Submitted by
Johan Kruger
To vote or not to vote - that is ...

The right to vote is one of the most basic and fundamental rights in a democracy, but to vote or not to vote (with apology to Shakespeare), seems to be the question. Read more...

1 comments 100 views
Submitted by
The Last Contrarian
Mystery: Spontaneous Human Combus...

There are nights, indeed entire days, where I willingly become a candidate for spontaneous human combustion.  Read more...

5 comments 705 views
Submitted by
The Greatest?

There are always debates about who the greatest batsman is, the greatest golfer, the greatest footballer and so on and I think, with one exception, that of Don Bradman, the jury will remain perpetually hung. Read more...

13 comments 236 views
Submitted by
Why even the Constitutional Court...

On Monday the Con Court knocked back the application by the Africa Unite Party to challenge the IEC on the right to stand for public office, section 19. Read more...

15 comments 1104 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25



E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

Digital Media & Marketing Association
© 2014 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.