Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe today expressed concern about flaws in the education system, saying the government was working on an improvement plan.
“Challenges in the education sector in our country are well-documented. We continue to have backlogs in infrastructure and facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries and sporting amenities,” he told a business breakfast hosted by the International Marketing Council of South Africa in Johannesburg.
Motlanthe said the new curriculum introduced by the government was aimed at preparing children for post-school life and work.
“One of the tasks of improving the quality of our education remains the need to improve the capacity of educators,” he said.
Motlanthe said it was important for the government to develop social partnerships and support initiatives that improved the functioning of schools.
He said among the key concerns were adult education programmes that were “seriously lagging behind” and students failing to complete their studies due to a lack of money.
“Funding, such as bursaries and scholarships for promising but needy students, is a matter of critical importance for our country,” said Motlanthe.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga spoke at the same event, saying it was possible to improve education outcomes both in the short and long term.
Her deputy, Enver Surty, said there were still hundreds of schools without water and sanitation, and schools that were unsafe for children. Yet, he said, some of the poorest schools in the country continued to produce good matric results.
Education director-general Bobby Soobrayan said the department’s action plan for 2014 took all of these problems into account.
The plan also addressed South African students’ poor performance in maths and science, and suggested more regular external exams in an attempt to lift standards.