Education in free fall with our children on board

2016-12-13 05:57

This year alone, I don’t know of anyone, any entity or organisation which has consistently managed to break records, the way our basic education department has done. Angie Motshekga’s department has continued to live up to expectations of pessimists, prophets of doom and ‘back before this 1994’ critics. The mess that is this department has continued to blossom in its absolute state of tatters. The leadership has not only continued to steer this ship away from its path aimed at landing our kids to a shore of empowerment but have also went further by steering it into icebergs of disgrace, ensuring that no one survives.

There are clearer memories of me as a 3 year old than of anything positive happening in our primary and high schools in the past 10 years or so. To be fair, depending on what cloud you are on, there are some not-so-bad news coming out of this department. There are some jokes that at least bring about a sigh of relief to some optimists. This includes getting from the worst education system in world to be the second worst (lol it is not a joke). This includes lowering our pass mark from 50% to a mere 33%, effectively allowing people who don’t know 67% of the work to pass. Whichever way you look at it, this tragedy keeps getting worse and frankly, the cringes and flinches from us down here in our silence appear to be doing no service in getting this flight back in the air, or at least ensuring that at we parachute our kids out of this mess.

As if the 33% is not a calamity on its own, this past week, I came across another debate on lowering pass mark requirements in Maths, a statement the department of education later refuted. I often wonder what thought process these people go through in formulating policies. With that said, I’m also not sure whether to be sad over these bad policy decision or over the fact that this madness happens in our full view and we are not doing anything to shape our children and their future. What do we say when children still don’t have toilet facilities in high school at this day and age? How do we manage to stay calm while children still walk tens of kilometres to classrooms each day, when the Eastern Cape has trees as classrooms in 2016?

These are some of the questions I can never get myself to answer. Before the 33% disaster, I wanted to ask another question.

How do we explain the rationale behind having a 17 year old Grade 12 learner writing a ‘Life Orientation exam at this day and age? I once paged through this life orientation textbook and I am pretty convinced that whole book can be summed up by the first 10 minutes of a local prime time soapy. Needless to say, we need to fix our basic education system.

I also wanted to ask this question, why we have the world’s worst basic education system yet have our universities amongst the best in the world. Isn’t this supposed to be a sign of inadequacies in capabilities of those in charge of our basic education system policies and implementation?

I always wonder if it’s even possible for the minister or any of these senior people running the education of our children to have our children's interests at heart. If so then why do they have their their kids cushioned abroad or at Hilton High. As responsible citizens, they must not even be forced but should be proactive enough and volunteer to educate their children in public schools. Anything less is no different from frantically praying in tongues for rain to fall in the desert.

Let’s all enjoy our festive season and hopefully get off our butts in time to save our children.

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