SA has a “dumbed down” education system, here are 10 ways to fix it

The national matric pass rate has plummeted to 70.7% for the 2015 school year and even if you passed, your qualification is nothing more than a watered-down representation of a failed system… according to some.

So what’s to be done about this shambles? Well, government has already admitted that they have lost control of the department of basic education, with teacher appointments in the hands of the unions instead of the department… fucking scary.

Ok, how do we fix it? That’s where one of the country’s greatest minds in education comes in. University of the Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen has been at the forefront of education for a large chunk of his impressive career; that said, he’s not always been very forgiving od the state of education in the country and this year he’s really digging in to the impotent department of education.

According to Jansen, the country’s “disregard for competence” can be seen in how government policies have essentially “dumbed down the school system” since the 90’s.

“We created a watered-down mathematics stream for those who, we were told, could not do maths,” he said.

“We gave legitimacy (and a university-entrance point) to life orientation when, in the past, guidance (or the lack thereof) had no consequences.”

 “We used to add marks to the grades of non-native speakers writing in English. More than one study has pointed to the inflation of grades, no doubt to make the national pass percentage look good.”

So, we ask again: how can we fix a system that our government has actively worked at destroying? Well, Jansen posted ten key solutions on his Facebook page that, when combined, will kick our schooling system back into gear.

  • Stop the circus: no more announcement of matric results. I would instead announce the results of our investment in pre-school education programmes – how well prepared are our pre-schoolers for formal education?
  • Fire all the deployed officials in provinces and districts. Officials welcome to re-apply on the basis of proven competence – party loyalties will be irrelevant.
  • Replace fired officials with coaches and mentors (not inspectors) for every teacher and principal who work alongside staff as colleagues. These coaches and mentors must have a track record of running successful schools or achieving high results in the subjects for which they are responsible.
  • Appoint an ombudsperson for every SGB to root out corruption in teacher and head appointments.
  • Ensure every child has a textbook in every subject within three months, or somebody loses his job.
  • Abolish the ANAs with immediate effect and assess every three years in the most vulnerable schools only.
  • Increase the salaries of teachers on one criterion only – that the children in the poorest schools show steady increases in achievement scores.
  • No teacher will be hired with less than a Master’s degree in teaching by 2018 and this status will be reflected in salary scales highly competitive with the private sector.
  • Teachers will show up in every class every day and teach. Two strikes (misses) and you’re out unless there is a certified medical certificate which can be cross-checked for dishonesty.
  • Teachers given three months off every three years to improve their professional qualifications.

There you have it; the unions won’t be verry happy should we implement these, neither will some teachers for that matter, but what’s the alternative?