Tag Archives: development

Zuma calls on business to stop fighting

President Jacob Zuma has called for an end to the squabbles that have resulted in a significant division within the country’s business sector subsequent to a recent decision by the Black Management Forum to cut ties with Business Unity South Africa. This has led to divisions, accusations and counter-accusations of racism from both parties.

However , on Tuesday, Zuma while addressing the inaugural Black Business Summit, moved to rein in the warring parties. He emphasised the necessity of unity within business, which he pointed out was critical to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the country.

He said government required a unified and united business voice to work alongside. “We therefore urge you, in your deliberations to debate the matter extensively with a view of finding solutions,” Zuma said.


President Jacob Zuma delivers keynote address at the Black Business Summit


As reported by Xolani Qubeka, one of several organisers, the summit was “influenced” by the decision by the BMF to withdraw from BUSA.

Zuma pointed out that he had intended to meet up with with BUSA last month however the meeting was later shelved as a result of BUSA’s unavailability at the time.

“Necessary arrangements are going to be made for us to meet. As government, our objective is to see unity … to be able to concentrate on the economic growth and development priorities that face the country,” he said.

He did admit that while politically the country had done well to establish a stable democracy, social and economic elements of transformation continue to lag behind. The impact of poverty and inequality was still glaring and human settlements still exposed the gap between the rich and poor, rural and urban, he said.

Zuma welcomed the attempts by black business to embark on internal dialogue with the intention to evaluate the progress made with the transformation of South Africa’s economy. The black business sector has repeatedly pointed out that a lot still needed to be done to completely transform the country’s economy, arguing that whites still enjoyed a tremendous advantage.


Xolani Qubeka Chairperson of Black Business Summit Organizing Task Team


A newly released report released by the Commission for Employment Equity unveiled that while black people accounted for about 86% of the employees in the workforce covered by the report, they only represented a mere 16.9% at top management level and 35% at the senior management level.

The report additionally pointed out that despite the fact that considerable progress had been made in creating a critical mass of both black people and women at the professionally qualified level, these groups appear to have “reached a glass ceiling.”

Zuma stated that government needed to makes use of the legislative environment to level economic playing fields, adding that it was in the interest of reconciliation, economic growth and control of the economy.

“We have witnessed the effectiveness of the affirmative action in the manner in which white women and Indian compatriots have benefited… We must draw lessons from that success to boost the empowerment of other designated groups, in particular Africans.”

When it comes to the ownership of the economy, Zuma said while authorities were pleased to see many blacks entering a variety of sectors of the economy, there were no visible “black industrialists.” South Africans were not seeing large factories and mines owned by black people or women.

Zuma told the summit delegates, which included mining magnate Patrice Motsepe and business tycoon Sandile Zungu, that the South African economy needed to create “authentic” black entrepreneurs who own factories and manufacture textile, furniture and metal products.

Source: BuaNews


Public and Private Sector Partnership is key to Better Education

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.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

“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.”

Source: southafrica.info


Workbooks to play strategic role in improving education and literacy

A study on the Progress of International Reading Literacy levels presented to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently, found that almost nine out of 10 learners could not read at Grade 4 level, while eight out of 10 could not read at Grade 5 level.

For the minister, identifying and tackling specific areas of weakness in education is therefore a major priority for the department, one that needs educators and stakeholders for it to succeed, writes Gabi Khumalo.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga

At a discussion attended by education officials and experts on how workbooks should be tailored to address specific needs, said tests should not only be used to prove “how badly we are doing”, but also be used as a diagnostic tool to help the department learn where it should focus its efforts at remediation.

The 2006 study found that among the major problems in reading, learners were unable to write straight forward answers to questions and fare very badly in longer texts. It found that South African learners in Grade 5 are approximately four years behind in terms of reading compared to Grade 4 learners internationally.

“9.6 learners cannot read in isiXhosa and isiNdebele, and 4.5 to 4.8 learners cannot read in English and Afrikaans,” said Professor Sara Howie, Director for the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment at the University of Pretoria.

“Learners are unable to do the lowest level of skills such as focusing on and retrieving explicitly stated information from text. Even in ‘Africanised’ texts, learners do not perform at an adequate level,” Howie said.

The study revealed that curriculum implementation is lacking as teachers do not challenge learners to progress at developmentally appropriate levels and only a third of learners have reading instruction every day.

“There is a lack of development of higher order thinking and strong focus on low level oral questioning in low achieving classrooms and there is not enough exposure to sufficient reading materials in a variety of forms,” she added.

The study found that some teachers were confused on whether they needed to use materials for English Additional Language or English First Language, when dealing with non-English learners in English language schools. Teachers cannot source appropriate books for their English Second Language learners it said.

It recommended the need for teacher training in managing the integrating of children with learning difficulties in their classes as well as a need to assess specialist reading teachers and other remedial specialists.
“Children with special difficulties who are in large classes need to be placed in classes for special needs and access to remedial support for children with learning difficulties is needed.

“Only approved teaching practical schools with teachers who are recognised as skilled in the teaching of foundation phase literacy should be used for practicals and better monitoring of teaching practicals is needed and requires more teacher educators at universities,” Howie recommended.

Research on Grade 1 to 6 Mathematics Performance from the Southern African Consortium for Monitoring in Education Quality and Annual National Assessments findings indicated that the majority of learners in the primary sector function at levels or grades lower than their actual grades.

Currently, the department is in the process of developing workbooks in maths and literacy for Grades 1 to 6 that will be distributed to schools next year.

The department’s Systemic Evaluation Director, Meshack Moloi, said a significant proportion of Grade 6 learners are still functioning at levels as low as Grade 3 in terms of the numeracy skills they demonstrate.

“This poses challenges for both teaching and provision of appropriate curriculum materials,” Moloi said adding that pitching lessons at inappropriate levels for learners could frustrate them and exacerbate the apparently high current repetition rates and possible dropout rates.

He stressed the need for a particular teaching and assessment style which recognises the exaggerated discrepancies in skills distribution.

“For effective learning to take place, there must be an educationally and cognitively sound alignment including the levels of knowledge and skills already acquired or reliably assumed to be acquired by learners, the levels at which lessons are pitched, the manner in which learning and teaching materials are structured and how assessment is conducted,” Moloi said.

Motshekga reiterated that the workbooks will complement what already existed and play a strategic role in improving the education system.

“I do believe we should go beyond this lamentation about how badly our children and teachers are doing and begin to identify and tackle specific areas of weakness. Among the recommendations that we need to consider are those for the development of courses targeted at specific officials and teachers.

“These courses need to be both pedagogically sound and content rich. Working together in our different ways to support our schools can make a big difference to education. Our children are our national treasure. Let us put the education of our children at the top of our agenda,” said Motshekga.

Source: BuaNews, amitypublications.com, sasix.co.za, unesco.org


Education empowers communities

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has stressed the importance of education to a developing society, saying it does not only benefit an individual, but rather empowers the community.

“Education is without a doubt a lever to uplift individuals, their families and society at large. Nowhere is this true than in South Africa, where education should serve as a weapon against the scourge of poverty among our people,” Motlanthe said on Monday.

He was addressing the Vincent Tshabalala Education Trust Fund’s Fundraising dinner at the Killarney Country Club. The trust raises funds and gives opportunities to top performing learners from Alexandra Township to further their studies at tertiary level.

Motlanthe told the delegates that education is one of the five priorities of government, the others being health, crime, rural development and the creation of decent jobs.

He also used the opportunity to pay tribute to Vincent Tshabalala.

“Vincent was confident that when democracy and justice dawned in his country, there would be a need to create opportunities for quality education for all which would lift the fortunes and well-being of South Africans, especially those from the poorest families and communities,” said Motlanthe.

Source: BuaNews, zunia.org, telegraph.co.uk, ncgs.org, barefootfoundation.com


Education key to developing women

It is only through placing issues underlying the misery of women high on the transformation agenda that government can achieve equal opportunities and progress for all, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Sunday.

“Working in partnership with women in all sectors for social transformation must be intensified…The development of young women must be prioritised, with young women included in progressive structures,” she said at a memorial lecture to commemorate Women’s Day in East London.

The Eastern Cape town will host this year’s main Women’s Day event where thousands are expected to gather at Absa Stadium on Monday to commemorate the day. She said education must be a precondition for development, empowerment and progress adding that without education, women would find it difficult to talk of equal opportunities in a free and democratic society.

Motshekga paid tribute to the women who led the daring protest march against the pass law system on 9 August 1956. “We salute the pioneers that paved the way for us, we remember the gallant heroines and heroes who rose against colonialism, those who protested the pass laws; those who took united action against unjust labour laws,” she said. The women included Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Sophie Williams- De Bruyn and Rahima Moosa.

Motshekga said the promotion of gender equality and strengthening of the gender machinery within government, the legislature and within civil society must also be emphasised.

Motshekga said the women, who under severe conditions of poverty, oppression and exploitation, created homes, educated and developed and produced leaders of yester-year and today.

She said her department will introduce stringent measures to promote the schooling of young girls while strategies to empower them with leadership skills were also in place.

“There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition and promote health – including helping to prevent the spread of HIV and Aids”.

Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya said while current data indicated that the gender parity index was in favour of girls at secondary school level, there is a need for government to put additional measures to increase the number of young women enrolled in areas of mathematics, science and technology.

“We cannot deny that we are still faced with major inequities in our society. The burden of poverty and unemployment falls unevenly on women, young people and children. We know for instance that children in female-headed households are more likely to experience poverty and hunger,” she said.

She said government had committed to intensify programmes to improve the social condition of women children and youth in the next five years. These include increasing the number of children accessing child support grants up to the age of 18, pushing the number of beneficiaries of the grant from 22 000 in 1998 to 8 million children in 2008.

Source: BuaNews, puku.co.za, scrapetv.com, columbiamissourian.com