Partnerships between the South African government and the private sector are crucial to improving education in the country, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told a small business breakfast organised in Johannesburg on Monday by the International Marketing Council of South Africa.
Motlanthe, accompanied by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, her deputy, Enver Surty, and Basic Education director-general Bobby Soobrayan, informed the gathering of top businessmen and women that this governing administration is well aware associated with the flaws in South Africa’s education and training system, and was in fact putting into action an agenda to deal with these.
“We continue to have backlogs in infrastructure and facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries and sporting amenities,” Motlanthe said. Additionally, there is clearly the the need to improve the quality of teaching in the nation’s educational institutions.
While a new curriculum has been brought in and was in fact constantly being enhanced on, “many of our learners are still exiting the schooling system under-prepared for the world of work and life challenges”.
‘A milestone occasion’
Strong relationships were crucial to dealing with these types of obstacles, Motlanthe said, and he has been therefore enthusiastic with the private sector’s tremendous response to the call for building relationships within the education arena.
“Accordingly we see this occasion as a milestone towards cementing this partnership with the private sector that is already investing in our education system, and therefore, our future.”
Motlanthe acknowledged a variety of aspects that will required investment from the public and private sector, together with teacher development; school facilities; higher education leadership and governance; adult education; and bursaries and scholarships for promising but disadvantaged students.
The Deputy President said that education was regarded as among the list of government’s top level five priorities, in conjunction with health, job creation, rural development and stopping corruption.
Education the ‘single critical equaliser’
“As proven elsewhere in the world, education plays a pivotal role in the economic growth and development of a country.”
For a country like South Africa, especially, alleviating social ills such as poverty and inequality called for a strong education system “that empowers ordinary South Africans to respond with confidence to the imperatives of modern society”.
Motlanthe mentioned that he was optimistic that when all of us meet again in the near future we will receive a number of encouraging reports on how we will be jointly having to take this collaboration to the next level.
“One of the lessons we have learned from hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup is that if we set our eyes on a particular target and mobilise society behind it, we can indeed deliver excellent results.”