Bantu education for all

2012-12-09 10:00

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News that South African grade 9 pupils registered a dismal average score of 12.7% in mathematics and 35% in first additional language in the department of basic education’s second yearly national assessments of pupils’ mathematics and literacy abilities is cause for worry.

Our education system is already dismal compared with other less resourced countries. The World Economic Forum’s 2012/13 World Competitiveness Report, released earlier this year, ranked South Africa 133rd out of 142 countries in terms of the “quality of its educational system”.

The forum ranked South Africa second last in terms of mathematics and science education, ahead of Yemen.

Unlike in the past, when such education was preserved for the black majority, we seem to have nonracialised Bantueducation where all children whose parents cannot afford private schooling must take their chances with an education system that continues to fail the children and ultimately the economy.

Beyond not having sufficient numbers of scientists to help us navigate the space age, it is axiomatic that nations that are better at maths and science are advancing far quicker than those that are not.

While these skills are important in the modern world, where science and technology rule the day, it is not just about that.

Without mathematics, South African children are denied a training in pattern and structure, and logical analysis.

In a society that has such a huge deficit in rigorous thought, a lack of credible mathematics education deprives our children of the rigour and order mathematics education instils.

This is unacceptable in a country that committed R152.1 billion to basic education in the 2012/13 financial year, the largest allocation of the South African budget.

We are throwing good money at a problem, but because we do not adequately track how our investment is doing, we always feign shock when the dividends are declared or when the losses are announced.

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