Tag Archives: Minister of Higher Education

South African education system is simply a mess

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande


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.”


Teachers provide hope of a better life for children

Teachers provide the only hope that many people have that their children will find their way out of poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.

“Without teachers leading the process, the schools will never become the kind of empowering institutions that people have dreamed about for over a century,” Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande said on Friday.

He told teachers, gathered at a South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) National General Council, that they were in a key position to counsel and empower children to further their studies according to the needs of a developmental state.

“This places an enormous responsibility on your shoulders because it means that without your total commitment to your noble profession and to uplifting the children of the workers and the poor, our revolution can never succeed and the doors of learning and culture will never be opened for ordinary South Africans,” Nzimande said.

He noted that while many committed teachers were making the effort to provide learners with a decent education, it was clear that in many schools, their efforts were being undermined by others.

“It is no secret that there are a great number of schools which are dysfunctional and where teaching and learning are minimal, it is also true that our children’s learning achievements are not what they should be and this is a serious blot on our education system and deadly to the culture of learning we are trying to cultivate,” he said.

He reiterated that SADTU is well placed to lead the national effort to prepare young people for a successful future, cooperating with the Education Departments and communities.

Nzimande also acknowledged difficult circumstances that many teachers find themselves in, noting that the state also sometimes falls short in providing the kind of support that they need.

He assured the teachers that the current government is more committed than ever to working with them to achieve what needs to be achieved and urged them to hold hands with government and move forward together.

“Together we must identify the root causes of the malaise in many of our schools and try to rehabilitate those who do not take education seriously, revolution was never an easy process and turning around the kind of dysfunctional and malignant education system that we inherited from apartheid will take hard work and sacrifice.

“As an influential public sector trade union, I believe that SADTU has a more strategic role to play in the overall development of a functional, high quality education system,” said Nzimande.

He stressed that the establishment of the two education departments should go beyond narrow, bureaucratic processes and should include input and co-operation from all sectors of society including organised labour.

“SADTU is a powerful voice in education and therefore needs to partner with government on its journey of continuity and change. This means that we should build on the positives in the system and remedy what is wrong.”

Source: info.gov.za, cosatu.org.za,