Playing God with children's lives boosts bonuses and votes

2012-10-05 07:58

South Africa has one of the lowest matric pass requirements in the world. An average of just 35% is required before you can walk out of your final matric class with a certificate that will neither qualify you for tertiary education or for any kind of meaningful job.

A low standard increases the matric pass rate, and artificially boosts the performance of the government of the day. This allowed the beaming Minister of Education to report a 70% matric pass rate earlier this year.

It seems South Africa is not the only country that manipulates the system to boost performance. Huff Post Education reports that a school district in Texas has pushed out hundreds of under performing Grade 10 learners to prevent them from writing tests that would reflect poorly on the performance and bonuses of district management.

Children are put under pressure to drop out before they write tests and the district has reported a steady increase in average performance over the last three years.

Hefty bonuses are paid to administrators for achieving this this artificial improvement. The article refers to other US districts where test scores have been given to children beforehand or where test answers have been changed later to improve scores. Read the article here:

I am all for incentivising teachers and administrators for performance and basing this to a degree on the performance of the learners in their classroom. However, this highlights the danger of incentivising an administrator to play God with the lives of children in pursuit of the cash needed for that SUV that he just has to have.

In the case of South Africa, lowering the pass rates gives the Minister a platform each year to boast about a performance that continues to be tragic - despite what the numbers may say.



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