Jansen: Govt can't deny education crisis

2012-10-03 07:40

Cape Town - Government can no longer deny there is a crisis in education when it only works for a small percentage of middle-class children, leading academic Jonathan Jansen said in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

Speaking at the fifth memorial Imam Abdullah Haron lecture in Salt River, Jansen called on every sector of society, especially the faith-based community, to demand that government declare a crisis in education.

"Why should we tolerate this?" he asked, referring to the gap between the schools of the privileged and the poor which remained constant despite many political and policy interventions.

Jansen said privileged schools remained stable, with no interruptions to teaching and learning, while the same could not be said for poorer schools.

"The schools of the poor are routinely disrupted or trashed by adults, by unions, activists, gangsters without any effective intervention that delivers stable schools with predictable timetables," he said.

"I used to be able to make that trip fairly easily from a very expensive school in Newlands or Claremont to a very poor school in Manenberg or Khayelitsha but no longer can make that trip without feeling emotionally distressed."

Nkandla ‘built in a day’

Jansen took aim at President Jacob Zuma, his Cabinet and officials, suggesting the education problems would never be reversed until citizens demanded accountability from a seemingly uncaring government.

"The defensive argument that Rome was not built in a day, but the Nkandla homestead apparently can be, suggests to ordinary people a massive fraud estimated in the Nkandla case of more than R200m of taxpayers’ money."

He went on to say those entrusted with fundamentally altering the education of the poor sent their children to the best private and public schools and would remain detached from the dysfunction and poverty of the education system which the majority of the country's learners remained stuck in.

"Show me one minister who does not place their child or grandchild in a high quality pre-school, show me one top government official which places their child in a historically black university."

Jansen described the situation as unfair as those in power did not feel the effects of, among others, unions disrupting schools or children not having textbooks.

"I do not believe that from the political to the professional crisis that there is enough of a felt sense of the miscarriage of justice with respect to the education of the poor..."

High university standards

Jansen said there was nothing wrong with the country's children, but it was adults who were "messing them up".

He referred to the academic standards for passing in South Africa, and insisted government, parents, teachers and society in general should stop engaging in and encouraging self-deception.

"We allow children to pass with ridiculous results and lie to them when we say to them that these sub-standard marks can get them into a job or into post-school training," said Jansen.

Jansen said this was the reason respectable universities devise their own additional tests and set admissions standards so high.

He said this was not done to exclude people but an attempt at not wanting the system failing students again.

"They (universities) don't want to become part of this determination by the authorities to spread the virus of mediocrity from schools into higher education."

He said parents had to demand improved quality education for their children and there were various options open to them to hold government accountable if it failed in this regard.

The options included support for legislation that would set minimum standards for education delivery in especially poorer schools.

These minimum standards should include that every child must have a book, qualifying teachers and basic predictable education.

"When government fails to meet what is legally defined standards, and here I support equal education, that we impose financial sanctions on the department of basic education and take that money back to the schools."

Parents’ responsibilities

Jansen warned that it would be dangerous for people to think that government alone should be held accountable for education.

"What about our accountability as parents, especially in the poorer schools.

"Where are the parents when schools allow learners to leave early or when teachers do not teach, or when homework is not assigned or when test results show that children are not learning?"

The professor also blamed the crisis on teachers who, in many cases at poorer schools, have abandoned children.

"I've got bad news for you that for the next 10 - 20 years nothing is going to change at a systemic level .

"We are going to need what a wonderful book calls a moral underground, an army of volunteers."

  • Annie7803 - 2012-10-03 07:50

    Give this man a bells!!

      Heide Modjadji Makgopa - 2012-10-03 08:17

      I - 2012-10-03 08:19

      Expensive Private Schools fooled people to believe that they issue separate gold plated matric certificates, dumpass

      arthur.hugh - 2012-10-03 08:41

      Agreed, finally someone who stands up to be counted - I hope he starts taking action on his words. A good place to start is to weed out corrupt and or lazy teachers and principals. Or at least introduce some training on fund raising that schools can do. After fixing up a few rural schools I'm amazed at the laziness and lack of motivation to sort out their problems in a sustainable way. Jansen, you are a beacon, keep it up! Zuma, you chop, take notes.

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-03 08:48

      Tyson there is something wrong with education when the public protector has to fix schools in the Northern Cape after they were closed for more than 3 months, where were the Gov. / Mr Zuma - drinking tea in the UN?

      ck1ab - 2012-10-03 08:50

      What astounds me is that the ANC is not following what is historically a proven recipe for success out of oppression. When the Afrikaner voted the English out as ruling power, the Afrikaner focused on building a world-class education system. The fault of the Afrikaner was making that world-class education system exclusive to themselves, offering the much poorer Bantu education to the black population. As the first step of the liberation in 1994, the education system had to be remedied for the previously disadvantaged. There are murmurs and rumors that the ANC wants to keep the masses uneducated to remain in power, they are just fueling this rumor by consistently neglecting education to the poor. If this broken system is fixed today, it will take, as Prof Jansen says, 10-20 years for the fruits to be brought about. This 10-20 years should have been over by now if it was resolved soon after 1994, and then we could all have moved on from the apartheid's legacy. Eish. The ANC is keeping us bound to the bad-old-days.

      justin.sly.77 - 2012-10-03 08:51 - You are dreaming, stick to the facts! Is our education system in crisis? YES! Is JZ spending R200 000 000 on his private house in Nkandla? YES! Should that money be spent on rural school for upgrading them? YES! Are you a blind sheep cANCer supporter? YES!

      harley.quin.334 - 2012-10-03 08:54

      @tyson, so according to you everything is just hunkydory with our education system, with the way the Government is failing our children by not delivering books and by dumbing down the matric requirements, you appear to be okay with the fact that matriculants are barly able to read and write, nevermind the complete inability to perform even most basic math.

      tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-10-03 08:58

      @Tyson no one is idolising the Prof and again we cant just turn a blind eye while our children are suffering at the hands of this government.Nothing wrong with this article and just like everyone we all have a right to express ourselves just like Julius, Zille and everyone else.

      Willie - 2012-10-03 09:10

      @ who says goverment is got a blank cheque,Tyson that's why we have checks and balances,that is the core of any progressive democracies around the world.You need to revise your loyal and support of the goverment. The facts are as follows: EC education is in shambles Limpopo education is in shambles NC education is in shambles You do not see any thing wrong with this administration authorising over R300m to upgrade a private property of the president.

      ken.grimblegrumble - 2012-10-03 10:39

      Sad part is that the children who cannot even read, will be the next generation of teachers.

  • - 2012-10-03 07:51

    Something I've always said, freedom starts with education. Give someone an education and he free to make far more choices because he/she can. Education is a long term plan not something that you'll see benefits from in 4 years but over a decade. Our politics doesn't allow for this and everyone is looking to benefit themselves rather than do the job of fixing up education.

  • mark.singh.9889 - 2012-10-03 07:51

    Education was never a priority in Zumas personal life so I dont see how it will be important to him for South Africas cause

  • mike.down.5492 - 2012-10-03 07:52

    This man is amazing, he has such a passion for education.

      dee.980 - 2012-10-03 11:08

      Moreover - it is refreshing to hear someone speak the untarnished truth.

  • sthembiso.jali.58 - 2012-10-03 07:54

    its plain ignorance by the government, zuma will not admit our education is on crisis coz he wants to keep angie

      JannieDeVos - 2012-10-03 08:23

      It's all political, Sthembiso. Keep the people uneducated and dependent on grants and you own them. You'll have their vote for as long as they live, mainly for fear of losing their pathetic grant. Educate them, put them in a position where they can provide for themselves, and you lose them. They don't need you anymore.

  • jeeves.eddings - 2012-10-03 07:55

    Education fail means the automatic destruction of our future. Anyone who cannot see that is either blissfully ignorant or just plain evil.

  • simon.thorpe.927 - 2012-10-03 07:56

    Love this mans articles, a true academic not scared to speak the truth.

  • ben.spreeth - 2012-10-03 07:57

    They would not recognise a crisis if they see one.

  • apansari2325 - 2012-10-03 07:58

    Govt should name something which is not in crisis!!!

  • lyellvanderwalt - 2012-10-03 07:58

    R203 million says they can.

  • cathy.dejongh.5 - 2012-10-03 07:59

    Love this man's mind

  • Kalari - 2012-10-03 08:00

    The crisis in education is due to a crisis in society because the parents and teachers are running the streets with pangas knobkieries and sticks, destroying the properties of others and kicking over dirt bins. Not only education the whole country is in a crisis.. Well said Jansen but you will now be labelled a full blooded racist.

  • Joubs1957 - 2012-10-03 08:01

    How can we tolerate the fact that parents keep their children out of school for 3 months because they are unhappy with the municipal manager? How can we tolerate children not receiving books for a whole year?

  • richard.zanner - 2012-10-03 08:03

    Nice Article. I pay a fortune for private schools for my kids not because I want to be fancy but because the Government system has collapsed. Why will they not wake up and smell the roses but then it is not just the schooling but every department that has collapsed. Get rid of them

  • Dries Cronje - 2012-10-03 08:03

    what else can you expect. the message from the presidency is clear. I am uneducated, but politically connected, therefore I am president. I upgrade my homestead to the value of 200M on a whim. You the people (mzansi) keep voting for me and my political party, despite living in poverty. F••ck you we dont care. keep on voting ANC we will just blame everything on apartheid and the british.

      Heide Modjadji Makgopa - 2012-10-03 08:45

      The president doesn't care about education because he is where is without education.He only wants to enrich himself and his comrades.

  • sthembiso.jali.58 - 2012-10-03 08:04

    Angie should have been fired long ago, she has no clue of what she is doing except fabricating the matric result %.

  • DrGonzoSA - 2012-10-03 08:05

    Why educate the masses? It might just give them ideas.

  • carolyn.myburgh - 2012-10-03 08:08

    Hello have we not been saying this for the past sixteen years each year the pass rate is lowered to get the kids to pass but they leave school with no skills for life or any useable knowledge EDUCATION in this country no longer exists

  • koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-10-03 08:10

    You can't stop it Mr Jansen. You are toooooooo late.

  • boltonbarry - 2012-10-03 08:10

    But how will the cANCer control the sheep in voting for them of they aer education

  • robes.spear - 2012-10-03 08:11

    The ANC womens league should be hanging their heads in shame at having Angie as their leader. For their childres sake they should sack her and get rid of Zuma.

      kent.paulsen.79 - 2012-10-03 09:12

      If she is so incompetent that she can not run Basic Education then how is she able to lead the ANCWL?

  • steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-10-03 08:12

    Well said and oh so true Prof. Any citizen of this moth-eaten country who cannot see how the cANCer is busy destroying a great country, should remove their heads from the sand and catch a big wake-up. This lying, thieving, corrupt and plain useless government have this warped idea that the people should serve them. Rotten from the top down.

  • mmangaliso - 2012-10-03 08:15

    just a little too late for every one

  • elsen.lucas - 2012-10-03 08:16

    Prof, again you nailed this! I am so scared for the children of our country! I sometimes shed a tear (whislt teaching in my class), because so so many learners can't cope with basic things! Let alone reading,etc. As ek by die huis kom na skool, vra ek my kinders om vir mammie te kom lees, sodat ek net weer bevestiging vir my eie gemoed kan he, dat hulle 2 ten minste in 'n 'regte' skool is! Ek dank ook die Vader dat ons as ouerpaar ook onderwysers is wat sommige leemtes van ons kinders kn vul wat die skool nie kan bied nie! Wat van duisende duisende ander kinders! Hier in die hoerskool in die rekeningkunde klas, help ek die taalleerkragte om net betekenis van woorde onder die knie te kry! Ek kan nie waag om 'te hoog' te praat in my klas nie!

  • lungile.manjiya - 2012-10-03 08:17

    Tell it as it is Sir...they are turning a blind eye because they know less education there is,more votes for them

  • - 2012-10-03 08:19

    Expensive Private Schools fooled people to believe that they issue separate gold plated matric certificates, dumpass

      kent.paulsen.79 - 2012-10-03 09:15

      @ No you are the only one they managed to fool hence your comment

      theo.konings.9 - 2012-10-03 09:22

      Dumpass ? Let me guess, you also failed woodwork alongside juju.

      ken.grimblegrumble - 2012-10-03 10:37

      Well,well and there was I who thought it was the Education Board (Government) who set the exams. One can go to an expensive school BUT if you don't study don't except to progress.

  • stephen.leigh.988 - 2012-10-03 08:20

    ANC keeping the slave trade alive, deliberately enslaving the masses to a lifetime of poverty by denying them the education that is the only means to free themselves.

  • ianthe.exall - 2012-10-03 08:21

    Well said Professor Jansen, but will those in power listen.....and even if they listen, will they do anything?

  • Sheilan.Clarke - 2012-10-03 08:21

    I long for the day this man is national Education Minister.

  • Michael - 2012-10-03 08:22

    True prof. We have crisis in education. Learners cant read, failed learnes are pushed to the next grade, their pass mark is now 30% and 40, how can we produce artizens and engineers from this system.

  • david.makola.3 - 2012-10-03 08:22

    well said Janseen. Pity the president and his cabinet of clowns are oblivous to what quality education can do to transform a nation.

  • ophelia.louw - 2012-10-03 08:22

    thats my Proff right there. there are serious issues out there yet government wants to spend 200 million on Zuma's homestead. there are schools that are closed, schools with no books instead or dealing with these pressing issues the president is busy choosing new paint for his homestead.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-10-03 08:23

    I get what he is saying and agree 100% with him. But at the same time, the "middle class" kids have to learn and go through the same drivel and poor education. The standard is just not there - compared to what we learnt, out comes based is useless!

  • marais.adriaan - 2012-10-03 08:29

    The ANC knows that they have, mostly, the support of the uneducated. They know it is in their own interest to keep the masses uneducated, therefore they will continue to do so. JOHNATHAN JANSEN FOR PRESIDENT!!!

  • wayne.faulds - 2012-10-03 08:30

    Concise observations from a very astute man. Is there anyone in Government bold enough to lead the renewal initiative?

  • golo.letsholo - 2012-10-03 08:30

    Upon the education of the ppl of this country, the fate of this country depends.

  • lungelolungz - 2012-10-03 08:31

    words of wisdom from a wise man...i salute you professor Jansen, this broken country of ours could use more people like you who are not afraid of telling the truth!!

  • jaco.human.562 - 2012-10-03 08:33

    One of the reasons there are no books is that the Dept of basic education is not paying the publishers,=. We are doing work for a couple of publishers, this month 1 of the publishers could not pay us because they have not received money from the dept for a few month. I have the letter from the company , where they apologised to us for not being able to pay us now. If a goverment dept. cannot stick to the rules and pay it's suppliers, how can we expect from them to do the basic things in the correct way. It is a shame what is happening to the education of our children. They only care about their own pockets and leave the masses in poverty and illiteracy, which is typical of their socialistic and communist approach to matters.

  • Erna - 2012-10-03 08:37

    Innumerable people in SA are desperate for quality education for their children. The English former Model C schools cannot cope with the huge numbers. Government needs to build more QUALITY schools, RAISE THE QUALITY of township and rural schools (instead of trying to lower the standards of the former Model C schools) and make all Afrikaans schools duel medium so that they can take English speaking children. And dare I say it - get rid of SADTU and Angie Motshego - give the job of running education to Prof Jansen!

  • jacqui.c.baumgardt - 2012-10-03 08:38

    Respect, Prof!

  • herman.bester.58 - 2012-10-03 08:44

    Educate the beloved country!

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-10-03 08:45

    Sorry that they cant even hear you because,they busy with Zumaville and Nkandla upgrading.

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-03 08:46

    Mr Zuma must be thinking that education is all well in SA, that is why he is on the education committee of the UN? The high fall out rate of our schools is also a big problem. Less than 50% of pupils finish school within 12 years.

  • bobo.jane.1 - 2012-10-03 08:47

    ANC = "Liberation before Educution" Goverment allowing this = Failure. People still voting for this = Failing their childeren..... ANC = Failing South Africa. DA = Educate to liberate - What is so difficult to understand ?

      sipho.skepu - 2012-10-03 09:00

      DA se gat,in cape town a da run province has 70 percent blacks living in shacks under gangs,we don't want escalating to the whole country.all opposition parties should get together and be a one party to fight anc.

  • justin.sly.77 - 2012-10-03 08:49

    I love hearing this man talk, if only the intellectuals in this country could also be the political leaders. Govan Mbeki, Jonathan Jansen, there are many, many respected, intelligent and forward thinking people in this country and the best we can do is Jacob Zuma, Angie Motsekga etc.? cANCer supporters, you get what you voted for, cry the beloved country....

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-03 08:51

    I just loved his reaction to a local union leader wanting to get increases in his Univ. He was warned of another Marikane should he not give increases, he told the man to f*** off!

  • amelia.basson - 2012-10-03 08:52


  • Tarone.Net - 2012-10-03 08:52

    That what the so called economic freedom frighters in our life time should be pushing for not just a piece of the diminishing cake. Zuma never prioritized education as a kid and how on earth should he start now.

  • sipho.skepu - 2012-10-03 08:55

    The dancing Zuma will say you were sent by verwoed,spot on though prof Jansen.

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-10-03 08:56

    Tell us what we dont know Prof - ABZ..............oh wait on his way out he must not forget Angie and Blade