The DA is concerned that, in the past, many indicators have been used to measure the success of the schooling system, and that not one of them is linked to one of the biggest challenges in South Africa’s schools.
The challenge in question is that of inequality. Put simply, the poor are receiving an education that is substantially inferior to that received by the affluent.
The Minister has commissioned various investigations into teaching and aspects of the schooling system. This year saw the publication of a report on the value of the National Senior Certificate, and on the teaching of Maths, Science and Technology. Previous investigations have covered rural education, textbooks, and teacher training. These are all important. But we remain concerned that, 20 years into democracy, and thus 20 years after the demise of Bantu Education, children are still being severely prejudiced by the circumstances of their birth.
We recommend that Minister Angie Motshekga take the following six steps, without any undue delay:
Admit that there exist two education systems in South Africa – one for the poor, and one for the not-so-poor
Take full responsibility for the problem
Commission a full investigation into the reasons for the obvious inequalities, by a team eminently qualified to undertake such research
Commit to the recommendations of the National Development Plan, and commence implementation of these recommendations while awaiting the report on her investigation
Put poverty levels front and centre of any comparison of school-level achievements and
Commit to implementing the recommendations of her task team, at a pace commensurate with the level of urgency, and in every province.
We can anticipate that uncomfortable aspects such as the influence of SADTU in securing appointments, the lack of accountability at all levels and the high level of vacancies, of unqualified teachers and of absenteeism in poor schools, will emerge as primary causative factors. As uncomfortable as they might be, they will have to be addressed.
In 2013, 28% of children attending Quintile 1 schools (serving the poorest communities) achieved Bachelor passes in matric. 57% of children attending Quintile 5 schools (serving the most affluent communities) achieved this highest level of pass. Only 12% of Bachelor passes came from Quintile 1 schools, whereas the Quintile 5 schools produced 32% of these passes.
This year, the Annual National Assessment results show the stark contrast between the achievements at either end of the spectrum:
Quintile 1 Quintile 5
Average % in Mathematics, Grade 3 52,5 68,9
Average % in Mathematics, Grade 6 31,1 60,3
Average % in Mathematics, Grade 9 10,1 21,6
Average % in Home Language, Grade 3 54,0 67,3
Average % in Home Language, Grade 6 50,8 70,9
Average % in Home Language, Grade 9 37,2 55,5
Every national and international assessment provides the same outcome. It is time that the appropriate cognisance is taken of the opportunities being missed by thousands of our children, through no fault of their own.
The quintile comparison figures were listed on page 88 of a 108-page ANA report (with no attempt at a diagnosis of the problem, despite the fact that ANA is administered as a diagnostic tool). This is not good enough.
The DA calls on Minister to Motshekga to take her first step towards equalising education by announcing the poverty split when she announces her usual indicators of success pertaining to the matric results. How many pupils from poor schools obtain Maths and Science passes, and Bachelor passes? And how does this compare with the numbers from affluent schools?
The evening of 5 January, when the matric results are to be made known, will provide the ideal opportunity for Minister Motshekga to announce her investigation, and her determination to ensure equal education for every South African child.
Shadow Minister of Basic Education
Source : Democratic Alliance