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Quality of Education in South Africa

In: Social Issues

Submitted By umrah
Words 1344
Pages 6
The World Economic Forum ranked South Africa’s quality of education 140th out of 144 which is lower than Lesotho and Swaziland. This causes us to think whether the state has or has not failed to provide quality education for its citizens.
After the apartheid era South Africa had become a democracy. With the start of this democracy and the new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 there had been a transformation in South Africa’s education system. A transformation in the system was exactly what South Africa needed because of the previously destructive policies, legislation and practices implemented under the apartheid era which segregated black students and other races apart from whites. This caused blacks and other minority races to be disadvantaged because the whites were seen as the superior race which meant that the blacks and other racial minorities suffered severe educational,social and economic disadvantage. However the Constitution of 1996 and a COMPREHENSIVE number of education laws that have been applied have been transforming the South African educational system at all levels.
Another example is the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 which provides for a uniform system for the organisation, governance and funding for all schools in the country. The purpose of the Act is to provide high quality of education aswell as addressing past injustices. The government’s plan for educational reform is also included in this act. The Act provides for the following: compulsory education for learners aged 7-15 or learners reaching grade 9 or whichever one comes first, two categories of schools which are private and public, a criteria for the admission of learners at public schools, the election of a governing body and the funding of schools. However with all these acts and laws put in place, South Africa still fails to provide a quality education for all its citizens. According to an article by a Staff Reporter it is proven that South Africa’s children perform worse than those in much poorer countries and thus causing alarm nationwide as to the State of South Africa’s education. Of the fifty countries tested in grade eight maths and science, South Africa came last. Of the forty countries tested in Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) grade five reading and literacy test in 2006, South Africa came last aswell.
After the apartheid era in South Africa there had been a new educational curriculum that had been put in place that wiped out Bantu education. It was known as Outcomes-Based Education. OBE allowed for students were able to demonstrate what they knew and were able to do. OBE was also a way for teachers to create their own student study materials, evaluate students projects and deal with administrative tasks and documentation that took hours, even in poorer schools. According an article in the Daily Maverick passing rates had dropped from 60% on average to 40% over the last decade. Thousands of students had suffered as a result of the implementation of OBE as well as for teachers who just had the system placed on them. According to Proffessor Jonathan Jansen he predicted the education system that was put in place would fail before it was even implemented. Jansen states that a few damages of the OBE was that it costed in financial terms hundreds of millions of rands. Aswell as windows of opportunities were now gone because now the country has to fix damages OBE has done. Also exhaustion among teachers and serios human cost where the children was concerned. Despite the fact that the system had failed South Africa dedicated a higher percentage of its national budget to education that most developing countries. Also South Africa has put in place a new curriculum moving from the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), that would replace the new criticised OBE to modify and improve the performance of schools.
According to VOA news another problem faced in the education system is stuctural problems which have resulted in many poorly prepared and a huge amount of dropouts as well. Shireen Motala tells VOA that the problem in South Africa lies not in the basic education of the country but the fact that less than fifty percent of children who starts school does not actually finish it. According to her 600 000 students had dropped out by last year. Researchers states that the country produces too little maths and science students and according to Graeme Bloch this is because teachers and schools are not equipped enough to teach these subjects. He also says that this is as a result of schools not having laboratories and because 92% of the schools does not have libaries. Another issue arose I regards to structural problems , these are insufficient skills of teachers. Shireen Motala states that the processes of the curriculum of the past years has been confusing for teachers. The Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega however says that the government will work with private partners such as the Shuttleworth Foundation whom had developed textbooks in maths and science for grades 10-12 and will be distributing to schools free of charge. Also they will improve the performance of female stuedents, assist students to make appropriate subject choices, ensure that the correct teachers are in the correct jobs, focus on teachers development and content knowledge. This making it easier for teachers to apply knowledge in a way that is accessible to students.
Another cause for concern according to an artcle in Wordpress is language. The ability to read in English is very important for students to succeed in schools and beyond . All schools subjects employ a learners ability to read. Yet, many learners are unable to do so . The article states that an average grade 2 learner is unable to name letters or their sounds and that most of the Grade 3 learners are not able to read at a Grade 1 level. South Africa has 11 official languages , English, Afrikaans and nine African languages . There are a huge amount of students who does not speak English and this greats a huge problem. Most of the township schools cannot afford readers for children in their home languages as well as teachers who specialises in various tongues. Even though there are many other problems with the education in South Africa the language barrier is important to understand why students are failing at school. The South African Constitution and the South African Schools Act (1996) however protects the right of children to learn in their choice amongst any of the 11 official languages. This should therefore be applied adequately to ensure better results with regards to the quality of reading and writing of children.
In conclusion although there were successes in South Africa’s strive for a better education there were many failures in which the government needs to continuously work to improve. I do think that the state has not yet provided quality education for all its citizens but this could surely change over the next few years if they continue to address education and emphasise its important as well as putting every effort in to ensure that the quality of our education is at its best.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. http://www.ciibroadcasting.com/2012/09/13/sa-education-system-ranked-one-of-the-worst-in-world/
[ 3 ]. 08 April 2011: 00:00: Staff Reporter
[ 4 ]. Daily maverick
[ 5 ]. Daily maverick
[ 6 ]. Http://www.timeslive.co.za/opinion/colomnists/2010/07/21/jonathan-jansen-the-enduring-legacy-of-OBE.
[ 7 ]. http://www.unisa.ac.za/cedu/news/index.php/2012/06/the-south-african-schools-curriculum-from-ncs-to-caps/
[ 8 ]. Director of research and innovation in the department of Post Graduate Studies at the University of Johannesburg
[ 9 ]. Visiting adjunct Professor at the school of Public and Development Management at the University of Witwatersrand
[ 10 ]. http://www.voanews.com/content/south-africas-education-system-faces-huge-challenges-140157193/16485.html[25/3/13]
[ 11 ]. http://gautango .wordpress.com/2007/02/11/whats-wrong-with-south-african-schools/[25/3/13]

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