Making sense of our children’s educational reality

2015-09-03 06:00
the black educator
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“The Black Educator” is a new education feature in the City Vision designed as an advisory corner for all. In this feature we take on questions that public has on all things education. This feature will appear in the first week of every month. Although City Vision publishes the feature questions or queries on the column are to be directed to the “The Black Educator” who are the producers of the content of this feature. If you want to submit your questions about education please kindly send it to theblackeducator@gmail.com.

In this inaugural feature we present to you the review of the ANC National General Council(NGC) Discussion Document on Education. For those who do not know, the African National Congress holds NGC every two years after the Elective Conference solely a policy discussion conference. On the 9th-12th off October 2014 starts the 2012-2017 cycle of the NGC. Whether you harbor vile thoughts about the ANC or you are person whose political choices are defined synonymous to those of Chiefs and Pirates fans, a policy conference of the ruling party is very crucial for the future of your child. If you don’t believe me see this quote from the introduction of the 4th chapter that deals with Education and Health “The fundamental goal of the African National Congress is that of uniting all South Africans around its vision and programmes in order that the masses participate in the building of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society in our country.”.

The section on basic education is lumped in a, 35 page of 224 page, section dealing with “Assessment of the work of the ANC in the Basic Education, Higher Education andamp; Training, Health and Science andamp; Technology sectors:2013-2017”. So the highlights on the work already done from 2009-2014 are outlined in 10-points. There ones worth mentioning are the following: “Conducting external tests, namely the Annual National Assessments (ANA), for all grade 3 and grade 6 learners every year, and providing results to parents” and “Promotion of reading and access to libraries through book flood campaigns.” We highlight these for two reasons, firstly we as parents we are able to look at ANA results and see how our children compare against other children nationally. However what is disappointing is as we looked throughout the document lacks interventions that are planned in case where children don’t do well as is particularly the case for township school. Secondly it is worrying one-liner on the issue of literacy. The document is then completely silent or doesn’t refer to any detail of the Literacy plan document. This should be particularly worrying to parents because we always wax lyrically about how “Readers are leaders”.

What should come as welcome relief is the point on textbooks has been mentioned in various areas. It seemed the exposure by education activists working the media has lifted the veil curtain on this problem and has successfully received the warranted attention from policy strategists. So if you are a parent finding out that your child has no textbook you should raise a storm about it to the school and be prepared to take it to the provincial level. Teachers also should use their union power to raise the issue of textbooks because there is a point that says “Teachers to also be required to use textbooks in class.” Another important point stressed is the question of accountability of teachers, principals and education officials. A welcome point because these professionals should know that they are serving clients which are parents. Although there is a mention of SGB members guidelines but accountability of SGB’s needs to be stressed as anecdotes have been noted in years of rogue SGB members acting with bad education professionals to undermine parents.

Two additional points also needs celebration are the further commitment on the Early Childhood Development(ECD) and the push for History to be introduced as a compulsory subject. Another critical point is the issue of Mathematics and Science which is a problem in many Township and ruaral Schools. “The DBE is implementing programmes to improve the performance of South African learners in maths and science” quotes a point in the document. What is concerning here is that in the section of Basic Education this is a lone point about the Maths and Science intervention. No mention about the Dinaledi Maths and Science schools that were a talking point a while ago.

Send your education questions to theblackeducator@gmail.com that you need the The Black Educator to answer and publish in the October issue

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