Gordimer: SA education in a shambles

2012-07-31 12:35

Cape Town - Nobel literature prize winner Nadine Gordimer poured scorn on South Africa's education system on Tuesday as "a wreck" over the failure to deliver textbooks to thousands of public schools.

The scandal has caused a national furore after leaving more than 5 000 rural schools without textbooks for more than six months of the academic year in a damning measure of the country's schooling.

"Our education system is a wreck. It's a shamble. I can't believe that three-quarters of the year have gone by and so many of our schools, especially in the rural areas, have been without textbooks," said Gordimer, 88, on SAfm public radio news.

"It is the (education) minister's responsibility to see that the books are ordered in time and delivered. How can you teach people to read if there are no books to read from?"

President Jacob Zuma is facing increasing calls to fire Education Minister Angie Motshekga. On Monday, he said he was waiting for a final report from a team he appointed to investigate the debacle.

The education department was found to have violated students' rights to education after being taken to court and was ordered to remedy the situation.

But a probe revealed that 22% of schools in the northern Limpopo region were still without learning materials earlier this month despite a scramble by authorities to get the missing books to schools.

The criticism by Gordimer, who had several works banned by the apartheid regime, comes after peace laureate Desmond Tutu said democratic icon Nelson Mandela would be reduced to tears if he knew the poor state of public schools.

Education is South Africa's single biggest budget item, but schools are hobbled by poor management and low standards.

  • preshen.govender.90 - 2012-07-31 12:42

    They need Ipads

      Lloyd - 2012-07-31 12:47

      are you going to tender to supply them????

      el.torro.509 - 2012-07-31 13:11

      I-pads? For I-time of the month?

      fussed.anderson - 2012-07-31 13:40

      Nobel literature prize winner Nadine Gordimer is gonna have her prize repossesed fo saying this

      Billy - 2012-07-31 14:09

      kindle keyboard would do the job, 1 probably just over a thousand bucks. R100 a month a lot for "school fees"?

      colin.dovey - 2012-07-31 14:20

      The government of Uruguay has supplied LAPTOPS with WiFi connectivity to EVERY student in that country - whilst Zuma wants to fly in an aircraft costing R2 000 000 000 !!!!! - THAT alone would buy 1 Million Laptops - then take the FANCY ANC Party recently, then the money wasted by ESKOM......what a BL++DY disgrace - suffer the little children springs to mind.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-07-31 14:53

      Two words to discribe this goverment "stationary in motion"

      husaberg.twostroke - 2012-08-01 01:04

      Thanks to the useless anc looks like nothing is going accordng to plan.

  • mario.dippenaar - 2012-07-31 12:50

    What some people see as appalling situation for education, I see it as a wonderful opportunity for SA learners to learn about independance and meditation. There is always a bright side to everything.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-07-31 13:20

      Derbyhooves. Meditation is fine but how will that help with earning a living?.

      clive.kihn - 2012-07-31 17:54

      And they could teach themselves how to spell "independence".

  • rocky.bell.927 - 2012-07-31 12:53

    South Africa had 4,8 million whites and 18,2 million blacks in 1987. The whites paid 77% of the taxes and the blacks only 15%...despite this...56% of the government budget was spent on blacks. Today it is often quoted that, “Per-capita government spending on black education slipped to one-tenth of spending on whites in the 1970s”. What everyone fails to say is that...Since 1970 the budget for black education was raised by about 30% per year every year. More than any other government department.In the period 1955 -1984 the amount of black school students increased 31 times from 35,000 to 1,096 000. 65% of black South African children were at school compared to Egypt 64%, Nigeria 57%, Ghana52%, Tanzania50% and Ethiopia 29%. Amongst the adults of South Africa, 71% could read and write (80% between the ages 12 and 22). Compare this to Kenya 47%, Egypt 38%, Nigeria 34% and Mozambique at 26%.In South Africa, the whites built 15 new classrooms for blacks every working day, every year. At 40 children per class it meant space for an additional 600 black students every day. In 1985 there were 42,000 Blacks at 5 universities in South Africa, about the same amount at the universities of the homelands. /continue

  • rocky.bell.927 - 2012-07-31 12:55

    Another example of “Bantu Education is the unique medical university of MEDUNSA that I mentioned in Part 5 of this series. Here the whites trained black medical doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeons and paramedical personnel to world class full state costs. About 200 black medical doctors were qualified here every year...thanks to the “oppressive” Bantu Education system. Author M Smith Source “Vox Africana Nr 29 4/87

      john.dorian.1042 - 2012-07-31 14:05

      It's an absolute joke that anyone can give this piece a thumbs down. These are simply facts, not opinions. Giving this a thumbs down reflects a negative attitude which bares no relation to the content. This speaks volumes about the people that voted that way.

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-07-31 16:52

      I agree, it is simply a matter of disagreeing to ANY FACT given about the joke of a current government. None as blind as those who do not want to see

      bill.smit.7 - 2012-07-31 19:53

      We did what we could but it was never appreciated.Now it is all over.Look at Africa .I mean REALLY look HONESTLY. So little achieved by so many so often.

  • Watkykj - 2012-07-31 12:55

    Hay hay! Don't come here your white education tendencies :P

  • Thato Okonkwo Fakudze - 2012-07-31 13:05

    I love this old Lady,

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-07-31 13:18

    She's going to get fried. She's white.

  • thelma.nell - 2012-07-31 13:20

    Please tell us something we don't already know or even better fire the guilty culprits and allow competent people to take over.....

  • mastersvoice - 2012-07-31 13:28

    Our Beloved President is living proof that you can be uneducated, corrupt and self-serving and still become a president! He certainly would not want the majority of South Africans to see him for what he really is, so educating the masses must be very low on his (and his cronies') list of things to do.

      micheline.preston - 2012-07-31 13:42

      It certainly would appear to be the case - this is how they keep their majority of votes because only the uneducated would vote ANC - they don't know any better.

  • celeste.delange1 - 2012-07-31 13:38

    And this is why I pay 75% of my salary for my kids to go to a "Model C" School where they get a decent education and books! The education system in this country is a disgrace. They forced a Curriculum down our throats that failed in the UK and elsewhere. My mother left the teaching profession as a result of this. She couldn't stand to watch the kids struggle and have their futures destroyed as a result. SHAME ON GOVERNMENT!!

  • rasthami.m1 - 2012-07-31 13:39

    Angie do a nation a favour and file a resignation letter,its a shame that such a person is heading such an essential service -this reminds me of the late cde mantwa how in her reign many lost their lives to hiv and aids ,champioing vegetables and being against the ARVs usage this led to her being nicknamed doctor beetroot, the health sytem was in shamble like our education is in ruin now and the president failed to act because mantwa was her alliance again president zuma is playing the same game as mbeki played by failing to act against minister angie because of her being an alliance , this really is failing the nation and the worst part is that she's refusing to take responsibility - this is a state of emergencu

  • rasthami.m1 - 2012-07-31 13:40

    Angie do a nation a favour and file a resignation letter,its a shame that such a person is heading such an essential service -this reminds me of the late cde mantwa how in her reign many lost their lives to hiv and aids ,champioing vegetables and being against the ARVs usage this led to her being nicknamed doctor beetroot, the health sytem was in shamble like our education is in ruin now and the president failed to act because mantwa was her alliance again president zuma is playing the same game as mbeki played by failing to act against minister angie because of her being an alliance , this really is failing the nation and the worst part is that she's refusing to take responsibility - this is a state of emergencu

  • dewalds3 - 2012-07-31 13:48

    Wikipedia on Nadine Gordimer : 'In South Africa, she joined the African National Congress when it was still listed as an illegal organization by the South African government.[2][18] While never blindly loyal to any organization, Gordimer saw the ANC as the best hope for reversing South Africa's treatment of black citizens. Rather than simply criticizing the organization for its perceived flaws, she advocated joining it to address them.[2] She hid ANC leaders in her own home to aid their escape from arrest by the government, and she has said that the proudest day of her life was when she testified at the 1986 Delmas Treason Trial on behalf of 22 South African anti-apartheid activists.[2][18] (See Simon Nkoli, Mosiuoa Lekota, etc.) Throughout these years she also regularly took part in anti-apartheid demonstrations in South Africa, and traveled internationally speaking out against South African apartheid and discrimination and political repression.[2] '

  • rob.west.92123 - 2012-07-31 13:55

    About a year ago on News24 Clem Sunter wrote an article about the standard our education and the gist of it was it wasn`t that bad.He did`nt do himself any favours and I can`t help thinking or wondering what exactly his agenda was or is. More`s the pity since I didn`t expect that from him - but such is life it seems. One has to dig really deep nowadays to find someone who can put honour before bread.

  • thapelo.maleka.94 - 2012-07-31 13:59

    I'm getting tired of commenting about the government. i cant stand being ruled by anc another 18 yrs. "

      shaylene.stenger - 2012-08-03 08:29

      amen to that :o) and the longer they are in power the more division they going to bring....

  • victor.windsor - 2012-07-31 14:11

    The whole government is a shambles !!!!!

  • bzondikoata - 2012-07-31 14:19

    Yah we facing a storm Havoc Trouble Mess Problem !!! Thanks to media these issues will be attended but Angie Motshekga has run her race she must give others a chance. I mean now she's showing her true colours.

  • Wilhelm - 2012-07-31 14:36

    The ANC is doing a better job of keeping blacks uneducated than Verwoerd did

  • Wilhelm - 2012-07-31 14:42

    I don't know why people insist on referring to the ANC as a government. It's not, it's a pyramid scheme...

  • 009ICE - 2012-07-31 14:47

    politics is bad for governance...If government was business,Zuma and much of his entourage would be gone now.

  • ingrid.oberholzer - 2012-07-31 15:20

    This has been going on for 18 years, it's NOT going to change, all the cadre's children are in private schools so why not pay ourselves exbortant salaries and forget the rest it will go away, it's our time now MOGALI CITY officials MOTTO.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-07-31 16:00

    this is what happens when you (ANCYL & Cosatu) kick out one president & force an uneducated corrupt weak, so called leader on the country, you get a mess, Mr Malema & Mr Vavi have created a monster, their greed, arrogance & ignorance has started something that will do great harm to the country. There is much more mess to come, & its all thanks to a few thousand ignorant thugs following greedy, stupid idiots that want to divide, & take the spoils.

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-07-31 16:01

    Now really, does tut tut really think Mandella does not know about the shambles in the schools! If that is correct somebody ought to tel Mandella!

  • jannie.swem - 2012-07-31 16:49

    keep them uneducated, keep telling them they are poor because of apartheid and keep telling them the white man is evil and its all his fault ,promise them that you will give them a free house, a monthly grant cheque, free car , and they will keep voting for you. Masters of Africa the ANC will rule until Jesus comes!

  • clive.kihn - 2012-07-31 17:52

    Another woman of stature speaks out, and speaks the tuth.

  • CassandraXabata - 2012-07-31 18:36

    Problem is that education equals effort, amongst other things. Not just overcoming drunk teathers, poor facilities, SADU etc. It means applying yourself instead of dancing while eating KFC, doing homework while others are jolling. It is difficult, but then so is life. Forget about the propoganda and BS of everything falling in your lap as long as you vote ANC. everything in life worthwhile is available as long as you work HARD at it. IT IS A CRIME TO MAKE ITMORE DIFFICULT AS A RESULTOF INEPTITUDE AND P!$$POOR LEADERS!!!

  • josie.russell.10 - 2012-07-31 20:48

    That gravy train has taken them all away - or - maybe a conspiracy to keep them all uneducted?

  • phila.kunene.355 - 2012-08-02 23:57

    So there was not a single book at schools in Limpompo since the beginning of the year for certain grades I suppose and Teachers and also Principals new about this. Teachers and Principals have not been doing what they are paid for which is educating kids. Is it the only time there is this huge non delivery of books to schools or the books were not purchased at all ? Be reminded if you want that the Administration of the Ministry of education was taken over by the National Government late last year when the purchasing of books for 2012 was in process and putting that Ministry under Administration halted or delayed a lot of things. The aim and the purpose of Administration was to route out corruption and misuse of money . The question is whether Administrators knew about the books which were purchased or ought to have been purchased or not and the Principals should have informed them about pending deliveries/purchases. For the school stakeholders to start shouting on top of the Drakensberg about books is nonsensical as everything must follow processes and the so called opposition parties to use a black child to achieve their goals is rubbish. The responsibility still rests with the Principals to ensure that schools are well equipped and they must prove that they had requested their books to be delivered and they were denied. Yes Angie's Department took over the Ministry but they had to be informed by Principals about the shortage of learning material.

  • mkulu.mkulu - 2012-08-03 08:15


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