Clueless Pandor cartoon

Clueless Pandor

Pandormonium in Education

Recently nominated Mampara of the Week by The Times, education minister Naledi Pandor is currently fumbling around trying to figure out what happened to missing matriculation results for thousands of students and spinning a success story for what is clearly a system that has failed many young people in South Africa.

If we’re going to measure the effectiveness of an education system, we should use the correct measures to do so. Kind of like Outcome Based Education, funny enough – we should be measuring how well the final goal of schooling is being achieved: viz. preparing youth to become productive members of society – be it immediately after school through employment or after some tertiary education. A rubbish figure like the national matric pass rate does not measure this.

The pass rate is not an accurate reflection of the capability of students -ask most reputable tertiary institutions whether the quality of South African school leavers is still at the same level as it was 5 years ago and they will clearly answer NO. The pass rate hasn’t changed much though, has it? The national pass rate figure is about as flexible as circus contortionist – the education department can play with a number of variables, including the pass mark, to achieve their target pass rate. This however does not benefit the graduating school student. He or she may have passed due to the lower standard but they are being released into the world ill-prepared for both employment and tertiary education. And that is a failure of our education system, not of our students.

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  1. Gosh, we should have “Mampara of the day”!!

  2. There are enough Mampara’s to have one every minute of every day.

  3. Shame, schooling is NOT as it was when I was still a scholar. What the HELL is the DoE thinking???I just interviewed 5 “2008 Matriculants” for an ofiice assistant position.I must say I nearly cried. To cut the long story short I have placed another advert and stated clearly “NO school leaver should apply”.

  4. Drake – I hear you. I’ve had the same experience myself. Who ever heard of dozens of students getting 100% in math exams in our student days? The standards have definitely dropped… Children are passing out of schools but it is no longer an indication that they even know the basics for menial jobs, let alone readiness for university or college education.

  5. theglassbird says

    People and maybe mrs Pandor think that once you got a degree or a certificate you can do the job. I work in building and my boss has taken in a number of student quantity surveyors doing practicals for a long time now, just ask him how they’ve been gradually been getting worse and worse he’s completely amazed that some of them even passed first year.
    It works both ways with the marks, not just marks going up. My sister has just matriculated. After recieving A’s for history throughout school suddenly her and all of the other top history students marks were barely above the pass mark. Strangely enough students who were struggling with their history mark suddenlgy found themselves getting B’s and C’s. Their school approached the department to show them this and now they want to charge them money for a remark! Good thing its only history and not something that would intefere with her getting into architecture this year, she’s a bright girl.

    • Drake, Alex, theglassbird – I think you’re all pointing out an underlying lack of faith in the actual mark that student’s are receiving from schools. Lowering of standards and pass marks to make the DoE statistics look good benefit neither employers nor students in the long run. It only makes the DoE look good and that for me is useless.

      What is likely to happen is that tertiary institutions and employers of school leavers will introduce their own standardised exam to evaluate the quality of the candidate – this is similar to the SATs and GMAT exams students abroad need to write to get into tertiary education institutions. It would be quite interesting to see the national pass rate or scores on that standardised exam – at least it would mean something about the student’s potential.

  6. This obe system sucks

  7. mzwakhe – I’m with you. education should have been a priority for the ANC and I really feel they have failed us on this. we cannot uplift unless we have the skills to take the country forward ourselves.

  8. Good Day
    My name is Nomfundo Gqadu , I am a mother of this amazing 10year old girl. She is very good in art and if she draw some thing it comes exactly the way it was. Oh what can I do I don’t want this gift to fall away. Every time she is drawing, at school even at home she will be busy eating but drawing at the same time please help my baby girl she has a gift and I would like her to develop it at this stage and to follow her hearts desire. Please help my gilr

    [personal contact details removed by moderators]
    Thank you so much

  9. seriously e education system in our country sucks.Naledi shld d oosmething and fast cos they wnt b a b8r 2mrw or leaders if the education system is so low.And wats w e lowering of pass mark, dats e most ridiculous thing iv eva heard.who would want to employ sme1 w a low pass rate.i min its an insult to this nation and to every parent that works and want to c their kids is rather diasppointing.


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