Thousands of small schools face the chop

2015-01-11 16:06
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. (GCIS)

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. (GCIS)

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Cape Town - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga plans on closing thousands of schools across the country, with at least 1 000 in the Eastern Cape alone.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Motshekga said work had already started on formulating changes to the South African Schools Act so as to close schools with less than 135 pupils.

She said some schools in the Eastern Cape had as few as three pupils and Limpopo had schools with only six pupils.

Motshekga said that it was these small schools that performed so dismally in the matric exams. She said this was because every school had to offer seven matric subjects. However, the problem was that small schools could not compete as they did not have enough teachers to specialise in subjects as a high school got only one teacher per 35 pupils.

But she said the decision was not that easy as many schools had been established by chiefs and are named after their grandmothers. “They have lots of sentiment around them,” she added.

According to her, she is hoping to change regulations so as to make it easier for provincial education departments to close and amalgamate schools.

This comes after Motsekga came out in defence of the new curriculum last month, as reported by News24. Answering questions on the country’s continued problem with poor maths marks, she said the problem does not lie with the curriculum, but rather with how the subject is taught.

"There is nothing wrong with the curriculum. It is how the subject is taught. We need to urgently solve this problem before the start of the new school year," she said at an emergency conference of teachers in Midrand at the time. The meeting had been convened by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

Lesufi wanted to determine the reasons for the poor Annual National Assessment (ANA) results. Since the test was introduced in 2012, the average maths mark for Grade 9 pupils has declined from 13% to 10.8%.

Only 4% of Grade 9 pupils in Gauteng got 50% or more for maths on the ANA test.

A teacher at a Kempton Park high school agreed with Motshekga's statement.

"The curriculum is in no way the problem. It lies with the teachers and the pupils," Norkem Park High teacher Tiyiko Mathe was quoted as saying.

"Most Grade 9 pupils at our school bunk maths. And most of the teachers don't know how to teach the subject and apply the curriculum."

Read more on:    angie motshekga  |  education
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