A common critique of organisations working in the development sector is that of excess spending, with little result or impact. Whether this is a fair criticism or not, the vast majority of NGOs, CSOs and development agencies are cognisant of the need to demonstrate that they spend wisely on projects and interventions that are making a difference. This is only possible, however, if development work is underpinned by transparent monitoring, evaluation and response mechanisms that support our work. Unfortunately, we do not always get it right.
When I first read the article “Maths and Science vs Morals and Values” by Julie Staub, Fundraising Coordinator at OutwardBound (NGO Pulse, No.139), I thought there was a new dark comedy section in NGO Pulse - the kind you find captioned with a cartoon.
In response to what has been described as the cause of the skills crisis in this country, Staub writes: “I believe that we need to teach our youth more about morals and values than maths and science.
South African youth have “got the message” regarding the need for HIV prevention. What continues to drive the epidemic, however, is not their disregard of the message, but rather their response to their circumstances. Many young people who leave school face an uncertain future and feel excluded from opportunity. And not surprisingly, half the lifetime risk of HIV infection among young women is crammed into just five years after leaving school .
The Online History Classroom is popularising and strengthening teaching of the South African history curriculum. Clearly, the integration of web-based learning components adds value to traditional education - both in terms of its development and improvement. The web and particularly web2.0 technologies are providing significant new functionality in transmitting information to students and teachers and providing forums for exchange. It is revolutionising some areas of study through increased opportunities for learning and alternative formats for information.
Critical Opinion Piece
In a speech promoting literacy, the Minister of Education described education as a “national emergency” and called on teachers, parents, the private sector, unions and learners to participate in providing solutions which cannot be provided solely by the State.
The facts are disturbing. A Grade 3 departmental systemic evaluation revealed literacy scores of 54 percent and listening and comprehension scores of 68 percent. Reading and writing scored 39 percent and numeracy, 30 percent.
Years ago I remember sticking NUSAS stickers on ATM machines which read “Republic Day – no cause to celebrate”. This week is Adult Learners' Week and September the 8th is International Literacy Day. The question that springs to mind is: Is there cause to celebrate? Officially 781 million adults are illiterate in the world, most of them women. In reality this figure is much higher as even more adults are unable to read or write well enough to function effectively in society.