basic education

basic education

  • Motshekga Willing to Engage NGOs

    The Department of Basic Education says it is prepared to discuss the problems plaguing her department with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, who derides the manner in which issues are sometimes raised, states that, “It could be irritating but you cannot deny that they [NGOs] are raising real facts, which we can engage in…”

    Minister Angie Motshekga said she was prepared to discuss the problems plaguing her department with NGOs. She states that even though the NGOs gave a bioscope to the media they were willing to sit down and talk with them, and adds “It could be irritating but you cannot deny that they are raising real facts, which we can engage in…”

    Responding to a question on whether SECTION27 and Equal Education - NGOs that have been critical of the department's failures – should be invited to be part of the National Education Collaboration Trust.

    To read the article titled, “Angie: let's talk ... nicely,” click here.

    Times Live
  • Probe into Public Schools Pass Rate

    The Department of Basic Education says that a commission to investigate the pass rate in public schools was proposed at the African National Congress (ANC) policy conference.

    Basic Education minister, Angie Motshekga, points out that historically, South Africa never had good pass rates.

    Motshekga, who is a member of the ANC sub-committee on education, said that before 1994 an ‘F’ on lower grade, which was the equivalent of 33 percent, was regarded as a pass. She added that there is an argument that the department has lowered the pass rate, further stressing the need for the commission to investigate trends in other countries.

    To read the article titled, “Commission to probe pass rate: Motshekga,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • Eastern Cape Education a Paralysis - Motshekga

    Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, has noted that the national government’s intervention in the Eastern Cape Education Department, since its announcement in March this year, has stalled.

    The trigger for the intervention was the dismissal of 4 000 temporary teachers, due to non-functioning school programmes, lack of monitoring and evaluation, among other reasons, which left many pupils without teachers in the province.

    The minister further acknowledged the evidence that, “…school principals fraudulently inflating the numbers of pupils at their schools… resulted in not only a larger salary for the principal but also in increased funding for feeding schemes, learning material and other things.”

    Briefing a news conference on the results of the recent Cabinet Lekgotla, Motshekga assured that President Jacob Zuma will soon visit the province in an attempt to resolve what she calls an ‘impasse’.

    To read the article titled, “Department’s bid to fix Eastern Cape education ‘paralysed’,” click here.

    Business Day
  • No Pre-School in Basic Education

    The Mozambican government has admitted that it is still premature to include pre-school education as part of the country's basic education programme, given the country’s financial and institutional constraints.

    The country’s education minister, Zeferino Martins, made the announcement in Maputo during a meeting presenting the results of a programme of a NGO, Save the Children, which was aimed at developing pre-school education in the southern province of Gaza.

    Martins says that the priority of his ministry's strategic education plan is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to complete a standardised, good quality primary education of seven grades by 2015.

    To read the article titled, “Premature to include pre-school in basic education,” click here.

    All Africa
  • The Significance of Career Guidance for High School Learners

    South Africa is getting obsessed with the improved matric results while no attention is given to career guidance. Lack of career guidance at our schools is evident when year after year the majority of these matriculants flock to universities while further education (FET) training colleges are far from achieving government’s target of enrolling one million learners by 2015.

    Despite losing days of learning due to last year’s public sector strike, one can safely say the 67.8 percent pass rate reflects the level of commitment on the part of the matriculants, teachers and the Department of Basic Education.

    However, a large number of learners will not be able to pursue their studies at institutions of higher learning due to lack of career guidance at schools. Proper career guidance would have assisted many of these students with early applications at universities and/or further education and training colleges, selection of career paths at an early stage, and with more career options other than enrolling at these institutions. I strongly believe that proper career guidance would have at least made this situation manageable for learners and the institutions of higher learning.

    Our education system should prepare the learners at least from Grade 10 onwards when it comes to choosing career paths. In order to achieve this, the schools should dedicate the beginning of every year to career guidance or include it in the curriculum. This will allow learners to select subjects that are in line with their future plans. Moreover, career guidance could go a long way in giving the learners the confidence to decide where they want to be in future.

    In my encounters, I came across a number of matriculants who did not have a clue about their career ambitions. This does not paint a good picture for the entire country because it means that teachers do not prepare the learners for post-matric studies or they lack the capacity to offer career guidance to learners.

    I recall one learner declaring that she does not intend furthering her education because she comes from an impoverished family. How many of these learners know the existence of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)? Is the Department of Higher Education and Training doing enough to encourage matriculants to study at institutions of higher learning? The reality is, poverty should never stand in the way of matriculants while funding schemes like NSFAS exist.

    The NSFAS should also benefit those matriculants who are currently sitting at home with nothing to do. While we encourage matriculants to study subjects such as Mathematics and Science, we should always remember that some of these matriculants have good marks in these subjects. In situations like this, the Department of Higher Education and Training should take a stand and inform high school learners about the availability of bursaries and loans from government, the private sector and foreign funding agencies. Lack of information or access to information in rural areas has also been a contributing factor. How many of the rural areas in South Africa have libraries?

    In a press statement earlier this month, Higher Education and Training Minister, Blade Nzimande, presented all the right topics to navigate the learners through career options. The statement covered topics with information on universities, FET colleges, financial assistance, skills development programmes, adult education centres and career advice services.

    I am of the view that such topics should be covered in career exhibitions whereby public institutions of higher learning and funding agencies are invited to provide information about their programmes to learners.

    Further education and training colleges should also encourage learners to enroll with them in order to reduce the influx of learners to the universities. Learners need to be made aware that FET colleges also offer programmes that could drive the growth of our economy. These programmes, which most of them are referred to as ‘scarce skills’, have the potential to equip them with the necessary skills to drive the economic growth of this country in future. This will help turn South Africa into a country which will no longer import skilled professionals.

    Life Orientation teachers should take up the duty of career guidance. In addition, the government should deploy career counsellors to schools to offer career guidance to learners on a full-time basis. If government cannot afford employing career counsellors, it is best to have at least one career centre that will cater for schools in a specific region. In order to realise this, government should collaborate with communities, the private sector, civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

    Standing together as a nation in navigating the right education for the careers of our learners could help build a country free from social ills such as poverty, unemployment and crime.

    - Phumla Pearl Mhlanga is an intern at SANGONeT.
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