At long last, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has publicly stated that the South African government together with the Education department is struggling to and not capable of enhancing the quality of education necessary to bridge the gap between schooling, tertiary education and the job market.
Nzimande made these statement to the Human Resource Development Council when he presented skills development plan. He admitted to the fact that education in South Africa remains to be in a state of apathy and is failing to effectively prepare pupils for tertiary education including a competitive work environment.
School dropout levels remain high and as a result youth unemployment continues to be high, with a large number of young adults unable to further their education and training or find any sort of employment. The direct effect of this on our society has resulted in higher levels of unemployment and possibly driving our young generation to a life of crime and depression.
Nzimande laid the blame and problems on the foundation phase of the nation’s education system, crucial in developing a an adequate amount of human resource development base for the country.
Even though the government has continued to increase spending and investment in foundation phase education program, grades 3 to 6 the test results continue to be some of the worst in the world. Research has shown that the vast majority of students who enter the intermediate phase continue to be illiterate and experience problems as they progress through the education system.
The truth of the matter is that the government and leaders have failed the country which is clear from the given the fact that less than 50 % the pupils who enter the foundation phase proceeded to write matric.
Despite the fact that that Grade R enrollment had increased this past year, Nzimande pointed out that the existing funding model ought to be overhauled to ensure that more funds, resources and expertise are allocated to early childhood centres in poorer regions of the country including children with special needs.
Problems facing the education system have been revealed in the absence of quality education throughout the country and it continues to be substandard in spite of gains since 1994.
Apart from a tiny minority of schools, the standard of public education continues to be inadequate and inferior, with merely one percent of black schools performing well on high school certificate results as opposed to 31 percent of formerly privileged schools.
According to research by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Progress in the International Reading Literacy Study, assessments over the past 10 years have revealed clear proof that our education system problems originate from the quality of literacy and numeracy, or lack thereof, in our schools.
The 2011 annual national assessments for numeracy and literacy indicated that our education system is in a state of chaos offering no hope for the future of our younger generation entering the education system. In Grade 3, the national average performance in literacy was 35 percent, with numeracy at 28 percent. For Grade 6 the national average in languages was 28 percent, and maths averaged 30 percent.
“This is worrying precisely because the critical skills of literacy and numeracy are fundamental to further education and achievement in the worlds of both education and work.”
The government, education department and leaders of this great nation have no one to blame but themselves and need to be held accountable for their actions by the electorate.
Wikipedia – “Accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public sector, nonprofit and private (corporate) worlds. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.”