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Carte Blanche - Toxic Mix

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Description: Education
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Jane of the Jungle
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« on: September 21, 2009, 10:41:00 AM »

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South Africa is in crisis... but this one has little to do with service delivery riots, xenophobic violence and crime. This crisis lives behind chalk boards and dust. It is playing out in classrooms across the country...

Headmaster: 'Learners cannot read...'

Headmaster: 'Some teachers are teaching learners [in a ratio of] 1:70 sometimes...'

Headmaster: 'Numeracy still is a problem.'

Graeme Bloch (Author & Educational Specialist): 'In a sentence education is a national disaster in our country and it is reinforcing unacceptable inequalities and it is not achieving the kings of outcomes our country needs to develop.'

Author and education specialist, Graeme Bloch says 80 percent of our schools are dysfunctional.

Bongani Bingwa (Carte Blanche presenter): 'What does that actually mean?'

Graeme: 'Well, it means that half of our kids don't even get to Matric and that means the pass rate of only two-thirds means there is another third... so probably 400 000 children are dropping out. And maybe they are attracted by the guys in their gold chains, gold teeth, and BMWs down the road who at least can offer them a secure job. Unfortunately they do their job in your home and they tie you up when they're doing it. And that is part of the results of a school system that doesn't work for people.'

Graeme has written a book about the system. He calls it a 'toxic mix' that produces results that are nothing short of dismal.

Graeme: 'On average, 30 percent, maybe 35 percent can read or do maths. If you look at kids who can do both it is probably about 18 percent in Grade 6.'

Several international studies put South African education at the very bottom of the pile.

Graeme: 'Worldwide we do worse than Ghana, we often do worse... even in southern Africa and Africa our results are amongst the worst in the world.'

Bongani: 'If you were the minister of education what would you do?'

Graeme: 'I'd probably have a heart attack. It is a tough job.'

Angie Motshekga has recently taken up the job

Bongani: 'What is your response to people like Graeme Bloch whose new book suggests that education in this country is in fact a national disaster?'

Angie Motshekga (Minister of basic education): 'I have had engagements with Graeme Bloch. I agree with most of the concerns that he has raised, but I think he is exaggerating.' (pronounced Exaterating Roll Eyes)

Bongani: 'International tests consistently show that our learners are consistently at the bottom of the pile... why would you say he is exaggerating?'

Angie: 'No, he is. Even those international tests - useful as they are - they are tests that countries choose to enter. The mere fact that we even choose to subjecting ourselves to benchmarking and really taking on to be competitive with countries like Finland, like England, which has more than I don't know how many decades of education...'

Bongani: 'But we're also being out-performed by countries like Mozambique, Tanzania, even in southern Africa we are under-performing?'

Angie: 'No, I am saying so... Roll Eyes I am saying you could also say Angola and other countries have not joined. We joined because we do want to benchmark ourselves and want to see where the weaknesses are and the mere fact that we find that we are under-performing, it really gives us a space to really look at things with a different perspective.'

To gain some perspective of our own, we set out on an impromptu tour of schools in the Vaal Triangle.

We took our lead from our President, who stated last month that he intends to 'visit schools unannounced'.

What we got was a sense of chaotic and demoralised school campuses.

Teacher: 'Ja, the morale is low.'

Bongani: 'Because of salaries?'

Teacher: 'Ja, salaries and other factors.'

Most educators would not speak to us officially, but off-camera what they had to say was pretty discouraging. One headmaster said if he had a child in system, he would sue the education department, while another painted a bleak picture for school leavers.

Headmaster: 'They are unemployable, they are not marketable... here's a person with a so-called Matric pass selling sweets, loose cigarettes, opening a car wash. Then to me that is a waste of resources.'

Bongani: 'It just seems to be a game of numbers. A school like this boasts a 70 percent Matric pass rate. But when you consider that to actually pass a subject you just need 30 percent it really means very little. So, yes, a lot of kids are passing, but what are they actually equipped to do?'

Across the country last year only about half the Matrics passed - even at 30 percent. ...........
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Irreverend
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 20:43:20 PM »

What stinks most about this is that years ago the govt. declared education in science & technology a national priority. Not much has happened since then except chucking all schoolgoers into the same smelly bucket, lowering standards and pass requirements and trying to get more A's through nothing more than BS. Who do these morons think they're kidding?
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Jane of the Jungle
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 23:24:24 PM »

Yeah why should some of them worry, their kids probably study abroad
already or building a career in jail Wink  The sad part for me is, my child is working
her bum of in school to get high marks, just to get the same Matric certificate than
someone with an average of 30% Huh?  How do so many people get endorsed at Universities
with stats proofing such a low percentages, then flunk by the thousands at University???
Do they perhaps sell higher matric record exams marks to learners(parents)Huh?  
If they send a record exams mark of 60%, the person don't even need to write the final!
Surely the Dept of Education must be aware of this, I mean how can someone fall from 60 to 0-10% on the same work?
(I can't remember what the ratio between the record and end exams are 50/50, 60/40 can someone please update me?)
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2009, 11:25:59 AM »

Even back when I did the "old school" matric with exemption, and went to varsity... I was shocked by the number of drop outs in the science dept. I mean, to just get in you had to have the aforementioned, and had to go write entrance exams, IQ tests, language proficiency tests, Computer literacy tests, etc.

How did people manage to pass all that and still the class halved by 6 months into the course?

I think high university drop-out rates have more to do with being lazy and/or the perception that varsity-time is party-time, than actual ability.
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