Parents losing faith in public schools

2011-01-18 17:36

Johannesburg - The number of pupils attending private schools, once dubbed "bastions of class inequality", increased by 50% between 2000 and 2009, a study released by the SA Institute of Relations said.

Public schools only showed a 1.6% increase over the same period.

"In 2000 the number of pupils attending independent schools was 256 283. This increased to 386 098 in 2009," the study, released on Tuesday, found.

This compared with 11.6 million pupils attending public schools in 2000 and 11.8 million in 2009, according to department of basic education data. The biggest decline in the number of pupils attending public schools was in the North West with a 15% drop.

The Northern Cape showed the greatest growth in the number of pupils attending public schools during that period with an increase of 35%, but off a low base.

All provinces except the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal saw increases in the number of pupils attending independent schools.

In the Free State the number of pupils at independent schools dropped by 27%.

In KwaZulu-Natal the decline was a "negligible" 0.2%.

In the Eastern Cape the number of pupils attending independent schools increased by 422%.

Researcher Marius Roodt attributed the growth at private schools to parents losing faith in the public school system.

But, he pointed out that the independent schools sector was still quite small in comparison with the public school system so the figures were off a small base.

The matric pass rate for public schools for 2010 was 67.8% and the pass rate for independent schools was 98%.

In December Congress of SA Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi urged the Young Communist League to continue its campaign against "elitist" private schools, calling them the "bastions of class inequality" as he lamented the difficulties pupils at many disadvantaged schools faced.

Many parents scrimp to send their children to private schools, fearing public schools would be affected by disruptions as a result of strikes, such as the protracted public servants' strike in 2010.

  • lmduplessis - 2011-01-18 18:09

    "bastions of class inequality" yet 98% pass rate. 2 + 2 =?

      Dave - 2011-01-18 18:19


      Janina - 2011-01-19 12:40

      @imduplessis - I have to agree. If they can get a 98% pass rate they must be doing something right!

  • Maddi - 2011-01-18 18:18

    "losing faith", implies we had faith to start with in the first place!

  • duthies - 2011-01-18 18:44

    I wonder where Mr Vavi sends his kids to school?

      Rem - 2011-01-19 11:26

      Mr Vavi, shuh that idiot doesn't even deserve that title if you ask me....

  • BOKLDN - 2011-01-18 18:45

    Young Communists = idiots. Would you rather be a North Korean or a South Korean?

  • pinkalert - 2011-01-18 18:47

    My kids go to a government school - I wish it was compulsory for all teachers to have a life coach to teach them on how to be positive towards kids and not to belittle them if they dont understand something - I wish someone would whisper in there ears, that if the kids are not doing well, then 70% of the blame needs to be blamed on the teacher, as if the teacher was a passionate teacher she/he would get through to the kids in the lesson - if this was the case then all schools would have a 99% pass rate

      bluerok - 2011-01-18 18:57

      pity you blame the teacher for your child's ability......

      Itoldyouso - 2011-01-19 08:29

      Bluerok, the teacher does make the difference - obviously yours did not.....

      Rem - 2011-01-19 11:31

      Discipline begins at home with the parents, so if you can't teach your child displine and the importance of education and need to listen, don't expect the teacher or any other for that matter to change @pinkdalert go on redalert and start by teaching your kids disipline, that most definitely will put them on the right track....

      pinkalert - 2011-01-19 11:49

      @ Rem - I agree, Discipline starts at home and yes Listening is a very important skill - but you cant listen if no one is teaching/explaining. So Rem I think you missed the point, it goes back to teachers, if they are prepared for there lessons and are teaching what they should know, then there would not be a problem, but we are talking about government school here and teachers that are in positions/subjects that are not qualified for the subject but have been put in the position - at the end of the day, the kids are losing out here. So Rem why dont you redalert yourself and stop missing the point!

      malibuye.tom - 2011-01-19 11:57

      @ Rem I didnt see any reference to discipline made by pinkalert there.This was merely child's ability vs teacher's ability to do their job.

      Rem - 2011-01-19 12:22

      Ok ppl my bad and apologies to you all. I am not defending teachers in any way....all the luck to your kids and your struggle to get qualified teachers in government schools cause I don't see that happening not even in the next ten years....

      eddie.botes - 2011-01-21 07:55

      My wife is a teacher at a government school and works her butt off to prepare the children in her stewardship for the future. In the vast majority of cases where children do poorly at school, there are family issues and the parents are uninvolved. This leads to insecurity and self esteem problems and has a direct impact on their ability to perform at school. Those who do well at school generally come from stable homes where parents are involved and interested. Whilst there are certainly teachers out there who are merely there to collect a pay check at the end of the month, the majority of teachers I have met are there because they are passionate about educating children. It's far easier to look outside of ourselves for the source of our problems. Maybe a little introspection would do us all good. Is there a possibility we could be more involved and proactive when it comes to our children?

      pinkalert - 2011-01-21 10:11

      @ Eddie - I commend your wife for being a teacher that is still passionate (they are far and few between) I also agree with you that there are kids out there, that have problems at home and agree totally with the teachers that are there just for the pay cheque. However when a whole class is doing badley and the kids tell you the teacher just does not care and is lazy, then this is when the school head should step in - in a normal job, you get a 3 verbal warnings for not doing your job, then written warnings, then disciplinary (so what is the government shcools excuse?) There problem is that they only have ex amount of money and they have to take the teachers that they can afford. So it comes back again to the government - they need to put more money in and give us better teachers (Not just one or two (like your wife), who are there for the correct reasons)

  • Rick - 2011-01-18 19:05

    Government anything us rubbish. And they want to manage the country's health - they can't manage the sewerage!

  • d54 - 2011-01-18 19:09

    What is Vavi's highest level of education attained and where attained?

  • - 2011-01-18 19:18

    In 1995 when my private school opened, I was a founder pupil along with my brother, Grade 4. It was never a question of trying to find something "better" as I come from Paarl, a town legendary for its top class schools. The reasoning might be smaller classes, although most studies have mooted this point. It took me a while to finally understand why a parent would want to send their kid to a Private school, and it pretty much comes down to one of the most basic human needs; Control. Private school parents are more involved, with their children and with the institution they trust. Obviously privilege is a contributing factor, but I know many families many times richer who's parents entrusted them into albeit exemplary public schools. But if you don't like something in a Private school, maybe a teacher, maybe an extra cirricular, maybe enforced religious studies, maybe the headmaster, then you could do something to change it. Parents do not want to have their children in a school where crap teachers stay on because of union pressures. They don't want strikes. They don't want children who are violent and disruptive in the same class as their child. Your article is irrelevant as its just the same drivel, you know nothing of private schools or the most basic of human needs and reasonings. Spout your "government's opinion", I, and my family, was ostracized from a white community back in 1995 for choosing, and using the ability to choose, glad to see some people are coming around.

      joe.delange - 2011-01-24 12:08

      What are you even talking about? Did you even read the article? You haven't contradicted anything in it so what, exactly, are you railing against? Also, you write poorly and use far too much gratuitous punctuation. Please indicate which private school you attended so that my children may avoid it.

  • charles.nsi - 2011-01-18 20:23

    public schools equals "disadvantaged schools "... Surely it is up to the government (with the tax payers money) to equal the playing field in tterms of schooling. Oh wait, that would mean fewer BMW's for Mr. Vavi.. never mind.....

      Firebird - 2011-01-18 20:33

      Where do you think their children go to school? No not government, but private. Wonder why. LOST FAITH?

      lldoidge - 2011-01-18 21:10

      They are doing that already with more and more "no paying" schools. Hence the fees in the former model C schools are not far behind the fees of private schools.

  • Hugh - 2011-01-18 20:30

    some are earning a load to be able to afford private schooling. One thing is for sure these may turn out to do a better job at running Government thast their parents. Maybe the reason why government is doing such a bad job at education is because their kids do not attend government schools. The same reason why the health dept is in such a shambles. Top government officials go private and do not trust their own system.

      Firebird - 2011-01-18 20:46

      You get what you VOTE for.

  • Wishbone - 2011-01-18 20:38

    Vavi and the rest of his ilk probably send their children to private schools - bastions of hypocrisy is more like it!

      lldoidge - 2011-01-18 21:12

      Some model C shool's fees aren't far behind that of private schools. So for an extra few hundred rand a year you could send your child to a private school with better pass rates and smaller classes. vavi should be asking why the fees of public schools are so high.

  • pinkalert - 2011-01-18 21:47

    @ Bluerok - my childs ability is extremely high, not from the teachers at the gov. school, but due to the amount of effort I put in as a parent. My comment was a general comment based on what has come out from other parents and not particularly just my own children. In my day, we had passionate teachers, and if you are passionate you will excel at what you do - I think you missed my point!

      mikebothma100 - 2011-01-19 00:11

      Shame pinkalert, you are one of those parents who did not achieve anything in life and now want to achieve through your children. Strange how if there is a problem you can blame 70% on the teacher and anything good, you take credit for. Get a life and let your kids get on with theirs!!!

      pinkalert - 2011-01-19 09:17

      @ mikebothma100 - I did achieve alot and still am, I dont live through my kids, I help my kids as I cant rely on the Government schools - if you do some research into the government schools, you will find that half the kids that take Maths (Not maths lit) are having extra lessons outside of school? Why is that Mike, in my day it was the class teacher who had to get through to us and we were a class of +- 40, so why do we have to look for outside help, it goes back to the same thing, if the teacher is passionate about her subject, she will get through to her kids, if she is not, she has an attitude of "not my problem". So Mike Do you have children at school? and if so are they in a government school? or are your kids finished and were the lucky ones who did not have a government shcool that keeps changing the syllabus, especially to a syllabus that failed in Australia and yet our Government still choose to implement it, only to realise that it does not work, so again they have changed it, at the expense of our kids who are the ginny pigs!!!

      gen.mewmew - 2011-01-21 11:25

      Mikebothma is just a hater. you make perfect sense pinkalert - it all starts at home. thats why its astounding how people have children when they are unable to actually successfully raise those children. it allll starts at home. our lives START when our caregivers start teaching us about life. life is a VAST subject.

  • Macho Mike - 2011-01-18 22:45

    Da faith, she was lost long time ago my friend, after hope had also passed away. Eish, no hope and no faith = ANC.

  • Bill Xhosa - 2011-01-19 06:08

    It is very simple to fix the public education system. Just pass a law requiring all members of parliament to send their children TO public school. Problem solved. You'll see budget increased, professional teachers hired, facilities improved. You can probably fix the healthcare system the same way. All members of parliament and close family members will no longer be allowed to use private healthcare and MUST use public healthcare.

      birdman - 2011-01-19 07:13

      You're dead right!! But unfortunately, pigs will fly first!

      pinkalert - 2011-01-19 09:19

      @ Bill Xhosa - run for president, you will get my vote!

      thandiwen - 2011-01-19 09:35

      Hear hear!

      malibuye.tom - 2011-01-19 12:04

      Two thumbs up to that!!!!

      Snoopy88 - 2011-01-20 13:34

      I've always said this! Damn straight!

  • desiree13 - 2011-01-19 07:15

    I must say that model C school are not always the best as the one my son was in also had a learner total of 38 to 40 pupil per class and we were paying big bucks for poor quality of education. I had to get private tutors to get my son up to standard. Thanks that I took him out of the so call upmarket school.It all dependent on the commitment from the learner and the teacher to make a success.

      pinkalert - 2011-01-19 09:23

      I have the same situation - we are paying R1600 per month for each child in a Government school/ Model C, I am also having to use tutors to help as well as when I finish work, sitting down to go through the subjects and explain it to my kids - Some of there teachers are first year teachers, who have been assigned to teach maths to Grade 11 and they themselves are not prepared for the lesson or simply dont know how to do the work - the one teacher stood up and said "I hate maths and I am not very good at it". Scarey and she is teaching Grade 11?????

      Snoopy88 - 2011-01-20 13:36

      Thank heavens with the new curriculum coming out end of this month things should get back on track. You cannot teach outcomes based education with classes of 40 or more learners! I think that is where the government has let the learners and teachers down.

  • Melly30 - 2011-01-19 11:15

    I lost faith a few years ago - watching the education drop!!!

  • Rem - 2011-01-19 11:25

    Has that idiot seen the vandalism caused in public schools from 2000 to present, it's so sad. Some schools don't even have doors anymore because students are stealing the hinges. Now it was once said certain race groups were deprived of education and a place to learn, then they get it and what do they do...f#*k it don't blame parents for moving there kids to independant schools so Vavi go get a life you scum....

      pinkalert - 2011-01-19 11:57

      I wish I could move my kids to a private school

      Rem - 2011-01-19 12:25

      It's alot of money but I believe the best gift one can offer there kids has to be education so all the luck @pinkalert I am sure you trying your best for your kids....

  • Enigma07 - 2011-01-19 11:41

    Well everything the government touches is a diseaster with education being one. Pass marks are lowed and standards drop, it is the governments responsibility to maintain public schools but they cannot even pay hospital contractors. And I bet most government official's children go to private schools.

  • wesleywt - 2011-01-19 12:02

    So Vavi wants everybody to have buntu education.

  • Janina - 2011-01-19 12:42

    I would send my child to a private school from the start. Why? discipline and the chance at a much better education.

  • elichiac - 2011-01-19 13:01

    Do these people actually realise that the majority of pupils attending private schools nowadays are actually Black and not White. I have seen this with my own eyes. More and more White kids are now going to public schools beacuse parents cannot afford Private school fees. All the Black diamonds are now sending there kids to private schools. It is only an image thing.

  • Jules - 2011-01-19 14:10

    If the Government invested more money into public education I am sure the standard would increase dramatically. More teachers and smaller classes would be so beneficial. For teachers not up to scratch - send them on courses to get them better equipped to teach. Of course the biggest worry the ANC would have with that is they would lose the vote as the more educated would not vote them back in - it's a catch 22 and the ANC know it and hence why they keep the population uneducated........

  • Snoopy88 - 2011-01-20 13:31

    I think more pressure should be put on private schools to provide bursaries for gifted but underprivileged learners. When I was looking into my children's schooling this was high up on my list of considerations. Those with the means should be doing everything in their power to give back. There should also be more partnership between private schools and public schools, sharing of resources, etc. I do not want my children to grow up in an ivory tower with little understanding and compassion for the life experiences of others. The divide between the poor and the rich is only getting wider. The answer is not to pull the private schools down to the mediocrity (and failure) of the public school system but to do everything we can to improve the level of education on offer. The unions are too blame for a great deal of this trouble because they will not allow public schools to pay highly sought after teachers in Maths and Science, or those who get results, a bit extra in order to keep them. And this is even when the parents have specifically gathered and agreed to pay towards the salary increase for the benefit of their children! If every child in your class is failing then you should not be keeping your job because you are clearly not doing it! Far too many teachers in the public system are 'doing' the job because its a salary and not because its a calling. And those who are dedicated are not seeing any reward for their hard work. Even salaries in private schools are a joke!

  • Francesca - 2011-01-20 16:02

    Anybody know of extra maths classes in Goldfields for grade 11 and 12

      pinkalert - 2011-01-21 10:14

      Hi Francesca - I do not know anybody in Goldfields, but what I do is use the varsity students to teach my children and then I pay them an hourly rate which you can negotiate - hope this helps

  • - 2011-01-21 10:58

    So, Mr Vavi, it is better to tear down that which is doing well and replace it with something that doesn't work. It doesn't make sense but then nothing our leaders do these days does make sense.

  • karendb - 2011-01-21 11:20

    What the government is trying to do is disgusting!! They don't improve things in the public sector, they just want to make the private sector illegal so that everybody has the same disadvantages. My children go to private school, not because I am rich - by any stretch of the imagination. Half of my net income goes to paying for their education, but I make this sacrifice because I want my children to have a chance of making something of their lives. Instead of making sure black children do better at school, they just make the university qualifications easier for them. They don't improve government hospitals, they just threaten to make private hospitals illegal and now they are threatening to do the same with schools. They do this so that their supporters won't look around and see people getting anything better than they are. Don't improve what you've got, just destroy anything that you don't have so that the playing field is levelled - to the ground. Very intelligent approach and a sure way of making sure this country travels a direct route into the toilet.

  • Godfatha - 2011-01-21 13:15

    Have a look at the alternative: This is the reason why more and more parents consider home schooling as well. We cant rely on public schools any more.

  • Jayne - 2011-02-10 14:59

    I am sure most parents try the very best they can for their children and if they are posting on this site only want the VERY VERY BEST for their children. I have tried both private and government schools and unfortunately find both below the standard required in todays day and age. Unfortunately the way of the world is now that both Mom's and Dad's have to work and the children are the ones suffering. Due to the high divorce rate our children are also being subjected to problems at home which lead to low self esteem, unresolved anger etc is also a burden but not an excuse. Parents and teachers alike both need to ensure they are doing their jobs. We need to look to ourselves as parents and put more input into our children just as do the teachers. Lets build each other up instead of pointing fingers and we will have a GREAT country regardless of black or white, boy or girl. These kids are the future and we need to teach, nurture, love and respect one another...

  • Victoria - 2011-07-07 10:38

    I live in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and my daugher has been at a private school since Grade 0. This year she is in Grade 9 and I moved her to a government school as the standard had dropped so much at the private school. In Grade 8 they weren't getting homework, more children were being crammed in the classrooms and every child below genius level had to go for extra lessons in Maths and Afrikaans. Children going into matric were forced to drop from Higher Grade to Standard Grade (or whatever the equivalent is now) just to ensure they passed. Never mind the fact that their opportunity for a university entrance was now scuppered. Just because a school is private does not guarantee its quality. She has to work harder at the government school, they are far stricter and a lot more organised. Just investigate each school individually and don't be taken in by labels.

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