Can’t read?

2008-01-18 00:00

In the address she gave to the National Tertiary Education Staff Union on Monday, Education Minister Naledi Pandor was critical of South African universities. While some of her comments were valid, lecturers may well have been left speechless by “many hand out photocopies, but neglect to teach students to read”.

While it’s hardly a university lecturer’s job to teach reading and writing — the tools essential to study of any kind — that’s not the most important implication of Pandor’s words. More serious, since the entrance requirement for all of our universities is a matric certificate or its equivalent, is that she’s in effect admitting that that the certificate is worthless, because significant numbers of matriculants can’t actually read. In other words, she’s casting doubt on the entire South African school education system.

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