Education system a crisis: DA

2012-02-15 17:49

Cape Town - Education should be declared a crisis and the school system revamped, the Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.

Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address, DA MP Wilmot James said Zuma was presiding over the greatest expansion of government spending in the nation’s history.

"And the result is that our debt is likely to reach levels close to those of the early 1990s."

Zuma's proposed investment in infrastructure was a good idea and his invitation to involve the private sector was welcome.

This would be a considerable stimulus to achieve the high growth needed to provide the revenues to repay the debt.

Limpopo didn’t order any books

However, this was not enough, James said.

"President Zuma also spoke at length about the success in improving education, and yet, as I speak now, one in three children sit without workbooks," he said.

"There are provinces without new textbooks because some did not bother to order them on time and Limpopo did not order books at all."

Zuma had referred to the improvement in the overall matric pass rate, but had failed to point out that the pass rate for mathematics, the sciences and some languages remained worryingly low.

As a result, universities would not be able to produce sufficient numbers of students with the engineering and technical skills the investment in infrastructure development required.

James said he was shocked when Zuma thanked all teachers’ unions for their co-operation in improving children's education.

Sacrificing schooling

"We know full well how the power-hungry Sadtu [SA Democratic Teachers' Union] wilfully sacrifices schooling on the altar of material greed, despite its socialist rhetoric."

"Tell us, Mr President, how will we achieve high economic growth without declaring education to be in crisis and ramping up our grossly underperforming school system?

"Tell us, Mr President, how will we achieve higher growth without an emergency skills programme for the trades to provide the talented young people without whom your plan will fail?

"Tell us Mr President, how will we achieve higher growth without large-scale ideas-based innovation at universities, our science councils and research and development in our private sector?"

James said it was necessary, among other things, to train more and better science and maths teachers and to pull talented science and maths teachers out of retirement.

Maths and science teachers should be recruited internationally and immigration requirements relaxed accordingly.

"We should rapidly rebuild our teacher training colleges. Start the exercise in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape and build the two planned universities for those provinces on that basis."

All trade unions and professional associations should be obliged by law to spend at least half the funds they received through payroll deduction on teacher training, development and services, he said.

  • Leon - 2012-02-15 17:51

    jou think...

      Ian - 2012-02-15 19:22

      It will never happen. The government does not want people getting too clever and realise they are being screwed, so they are keeping them below the average highest standard achieved by Zuma & co. With other words, std 3.

      Max - 2012-02-15 20:09

      .... or the ANC government has finally realised what we knew al along and that is that the average South African pupil just do not have the genetic potential to obtain a decent matric qualification and therefore the education standard is lowered every year down to the point where the standard suites the intellectually weak.

  • Bardy - 2012-02-15 17:53

    As always the ANC fail to deliver. Whats new??? Zille for president!!!

  • Ben - 2012-02-15 18:05

    Everything is falling apart but we know that the worst is yet to come

      Grant - 2012-02-15 18:14

      i bet you been saying that for the past 17yrs.

      Ben - 2012-02-15 18:18

      Yes and have I been right or wrong.

      Mantsho - 2012-02-15 20:01

      Your right Ben, worst is yet to come.

      Sean - 2012-02-15 20:14

      @ Grant - You live in dream world , reality is going to hit you hard !

      Juan - 2012-02-16 02:21

      @grant wake up and smell the roses; service delivery = epic fail health system = epic fail police = epic fail education = epic fail THERE IS NOT A SINGLE DEPARTMENT UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE ANC THAT THEY HAVEN'T F@#%ED UP.

  • Kim - 2012-02-15 18:07

    Lol, but Creecy wants the police to police the schools. Creecy needs to employ teachers who have the ability to teach these learners. Some teachers know less than the learners.

      Aubrey - 2012-02-15 19:29

      Can we up their level to at least matric??

  • Lynda - 2012-02-15 18:27

    As long as they don't want to pull this science and maths teacher out of retirement

  • davidmarctaylor - 2012-02-15 18:45

    I am a Maths teacher an I truly love my job. Sourcing internationals won't help. We have a wealth of talent here in terms of Maths and science teachers, but these people are qualified as such, and can therefore earn more in the private sector. Until they make the profession more attractive by offering more money, they will not get quality in the schools. I'm tired of hearing the old drivel that it's 'a calling' and that you don't go into it for the money. Yes that is true, but even people who have been called to a profession deserve to be able to earn enough money to at least secure a bond on a small house. I love my job, and find it incredibly rewarding, although a few bucks extra at the end of the month (at least enough to bring us in sight with other 4-year trained professionals' salaries) would be most welcome. In addition, the department makes it so difficult for good teachers, since they are so disorganised, and are not really capable of performing the job that they do. This leads to more qualified teachers going into the private sector. The incompetent teachers can't get in to the private sector, and so continue to destroy the public schools. Food for thought.

      Riegardt - 2012-02-15 21:05

      I agree with you! I left teaching for the private sector and I miss teaching every day!But like you said the department is so disorganised that it is virtually impossible to get back back into it. No-one at the department knows anything. My personal opionion is get capable people back in management and call a spade a spade when it comes to underperforming!

  • Sallie - 2012-02-15 18:45

    Light up my day and list ANY Goverment Dept which is not a FU!!!

      Kim - 2012-02-15 18:47


  • Alan - 2012-02-15 19:11


      Juan - 2012-02-16 02:36

      The only thing that the ANC knows is if they give the masses a descent education, the ANC won't get enough votes to survive. Keep them dumb, that's the ANC strategy. And it works, it's the only reason the ANC get's 70% of the vote

  • braamc - 2012-02-15 20:03

    ANC is an absolute disgrace, you get what you vote for

  • Sean - 2012-02-15 20:15

    Not long from now the whole of S.A will be in a crisis !!

  • Portia Shatty Mugeri Ndlovu - 2012-02-15 20:29

    What is not in crisis in this country everything is and the government is doing What NOTHING Zuma doesn't have solutions to anything.....

  • Ronald - 2012-02-15 20:31

    This reminds me that Zuma had recently received an honorary degree in Nigeria for his role in promoting education. Keeping in mind what has actually happened in SA, if Zuma can improve the situation regarding the levels of education back to what it was in 1994, he will surely be declared a saint by the pope as this will take a miracle.

  • witsliberator - 2012-02-15 20:35

    The discourse is welcome but when will we get to community oriented schooling system. At the moment a large majority of parents outsource their children's education to school. They must be involved and the government should facilitate them being involved. There is no silver bullet in education, anywhere in the world.

      Multi - 2012-02-15 21:53

      Do you mean parents should get more involved with the schools and make sure the school is doing its job? OR Parents should help their kids with their school work? OR They should teach their children themselves? There's various other interpretations of your post but I think these illustrate the point. Your post is rather ambiguous. I'm all for the first 2 but the last one is a disaster unless the parent is unusually talented at teaching (most aren't but you get the odd gem)

      Tasmee - 2012-03-08 19:27

      Many working parents dont always have the time or the energy to actively engage in each subject, this is the teachers jobs,the same teachers who earn the salaries the same parents pay in the form of taxes. Aside from the middle and upper class, lower class earners might not have the education themselves in order to help their kids. We have exceptional private schools in SA, sad that not all children will have the privileges of a good education in SA though. Government have failed in so many areas, how will they implement facilitation and ensure parents are involved. This is sure to be a logistical nightmare in itself! Surely they should be facilitating their own departments and teachers in ensuring they are doing their jobs effectively.

  • jeanpierre.dumont - 2012-02-15 20:39

    From personal experience its not as bad as is made out - sure there are schools that are in a shocking state but there are plenty of examples of very well run state schools that never get mentioned.

  • Phill - 2012-02-15 23:12

    Really SADTU is destrying our education. Look, Zuma must thank SADTU because they are not only disruptive, they also intimidate learners (amny are eligible to vote) the aged and the poor illitarate to vote for the ANC. Zuma's second term will be partly decided by SADTU.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-02-16 06:02

    Well with no education we wont have Drs, Lawyers, Engineers, and we will just go back to breaking rocks on our heads like apes... Our education system is embarrassing....

  • Alfred - 2012-02-16 08:20

    Are taking what our president says seriously?

  • ramona.fredericks - 2012-02-16 10:49

    so what its nice pointing out so we all no the problem and we all established who the culprits are, so what are we doing about it? what is the DA doing about it... we can nag all we like but if you can give no solutions then you can also just shut the hell up.

      Tasmee - 2012-03-08 19:34

      I dont vote for the ANC, that's the first thing I do. The second thing I do is pay top dollar for private education at one of the best private schools in the country, and in 2 years time, after years of sacrifice for my childrens education, I will ensure that they study further overseas, and eventually take their very scarce skills and education elsewhere. And as long as people vote for the ANC, education will be at the bottom of the list of priorities.

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