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Author Topic:

SA school system faces maker shakeup

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BoogieMonster
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« on: January 12, 2016, 09:42:17 AM »

As mentioned in shoutbox:

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(05:41:55) brianvds: Hey check this out: City Press on School system shakeup


This all sounds great but I'm immediately skeptical...

How would they determine who belongs in which stream? I'm sure this can be done properly but will it based on the sheer number of pupils out there and the sheer incompetence sometimes displayed in some areas. At what point does this become a cop-out for a lazy teacher who doesn't want to teach so they just funnel as many pupils as possible into the lowest-denominator stream? This needs some serious thought before we go telling people "Sorry you're too stupid for matric here have a chisel". I saw some guys struggle and work and brow-beat their way through high school and still attain a senior certificate in spite of the fact that they weren't the sharpest crayon in the box. And as the article itself states: That's a real benefit to that person.

I feel "back then" white pupils were given the great advantage of being pushed to be their best. I fear our current system does not afford black students that same "privilege".
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 10:19:02 AM »

I think it could work out nicely, if not necessarily for a single individual, then for society as a whole. We probably won't be worse off than now. If you consider that we need far more electricians, plumbers and brickies than chemists and engineers, the numbers may well work out nicely, with the academic elite making up 10% or less of the scholastic body.

How would they determine who belongs in which stream?
Very important question, and clearly important to get it right. However this is done, it will have to be early in the scholastic career to allow the kid sufficient time to specialize. (Didn't cold war era Russia do something similar - or was it only focussed on chess prodigies?) There really are not that many options:

1. Psychological testing (groan)
2. Academic performance (but is interest sufficiently aligned with marks, and does it matter?)
3. Ask the parents, pupil, teacher (but you may get disproportionate academic bias)
4. Split kids up alphabetically (just kidding)

Rigil


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brianvds
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 10:34:01 AM »

This all sounds great but I'm immediately skeptical...
How would they determine who belongs in which stream? I'm sure this can be done properly but will it based on the sheer number of pupils out there and the sheer incompetence sometimes displayed in some areas.

I'm sure the government is very capable of messing this up the same way they messed up the current system. But at least in principle, this is a BIG step forward from the current system where they absolutely insist that everyone must go to university.

I can indeed think of many pitfalls here, to add to the ones you mention. For one thing, technical and vocational schools will need suitably qualified teachers, which we are going to get where? Such schools also need specialized equipment and workshops, which we do not have. If we cannot properly administer even a single-stream system, how the hell are we going to handle three?

Still, something has to be done or we are heading for total disaster, and this is at least a beginning.

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At what point does this become a cop-out for a lazy teacher who doesn't want to teach so they just funnel as many pupils as possible into the lowest-denominator stream?

My personal experience as teacher taught me that, rather tragically, the vast bulk of South African kids NEED to be put in the lowest-denominator stream, because they will never master anything else. And just for the record, I was a pretty dedicated teacher...

And another danger is that they determine racial quotas telling schools how many pupils HAVE to be put into this or that stream, to ensure that at least some white kids also end up as cashiers. :-)

A friend of mine who travels a lot tells me this is pretty much the system they have in Germany, and kids are put into their streams very early on (like grade 3 or something). It inevitably leads to some unfairness, and some potential late bloomers not blooming at all, etc., but apparently it works very well for Germany's needs.

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I feel "back then" white pupils were given the great advantage of being pushed to be their best. I fear our current system does not afford black students that same "privilege".

Well, back then, I seem to remember that different streams existed inside schools - they were known as the A, B, C etc. classes, and it worked very well. Nowadays that has become politically incorrect, to the detriment of the kids and society as a whole.

In summary, the government will probably freck it up, but for once at least the idea itself is sound.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 11:07:28 AM »

We probably won't be worse off than now.

True that, it's easy to improve from rock bottom.  Grin

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1. Psychological testing (groan)
2. Academic performance (but is interest sufficiently aligned with marks, and does it matter?)

I was sent for a "Psychometric Evaluation" that included things like aptitude tests, an IQ test (yes yes), some arb things like colour blindness et al. (there are some occupations where this would be an important consideration), of course psychological testing of some sort and finally an interest assessment. This took a lot of time and was expensive... Not many went through this process, I did for reasons you can speculate. IMHO that is first prize (regardless of some woo it's the best we've got), but it's just never going to happen...

That's my point: I was lucky to have received this treatment, 99% didn't. And I almost failed math in Std. 6 (Grade 8 )... and was told I should consider dropping "Higher Grade" to improve my marks. I opted not to and my parents said "OK give it another shot"... they would've ruined my chances of getting where I am today.... but instead got a new teacher and my grades went from 45% to 94% in WEEKS. I had all the aptitude for math I just had a shite teacher (I later confirmed this when I sat through another of her classes now understanding the material). This is what troubles me a lot.... how many others took the bad teacher's advice in good faith? I understand there would always be people who fall through the cracks, but I'm still troubled by that reality.

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Faerie
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 12:18:49 PM »

Back in the day we had several "tests" to see where we belong/fall.  We had the standardised IQ tests in Std 4 (now Gr 6) and again in Std 7 (Gr 9) as well as the aptitude test to help with subject choices, which pretty much steered us to tech/academic fields, they dropped these assessments in '94 for the obvious "unfairness" call but if they want to divide kids according to ability again, they'll have to bring something similar back.  I also recall being allocated in the A;B;C classes, and the lowest level class usually containing the deviants and rebels rather than the stupid or inadequate.

Personally, I think its great, it gives slightly more focus on CAREER rather than the university qualification (any bloody varsity qualification) they've been pushing for the masses.  Now they just need to bring back the Teacher's and Nursing colleges and we'll hopefully make some headway with proper qualifications that actually helps the country and the individual.
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brianvds
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2016, 13:03:46 PM »

And more news:

http://www.parent24.com/School_7-12/Learning/new-schooling-system-can-sa-cope-20160112
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