Education literacy South Africa cartoon

Education literacy South Africa

Education and illiteracy in South Africa

A recent nationwide literacy and numeracy assessment in primary schools in South Africa revealed a disturbing truth. The majority of Grade 3 and Grade 6 students in the country cannot read and count. In Gauteng, almost 70% of the province’s Grade 3 pupils were found to be illiterate. This begs the question: What has the government been doing since 1994?

Earlier this year, Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga proudly donned a brilliant grin when president Jacob Zuma announced the improvement in the Matric pass rate as part of his annual State of the Nation address. When presented with the results of the recent assessment, she described them as very sad. Very sad, indeed.

Contrary to the Department of Education’s belief, one does not need to be a rocket scientist powered by millions of assessment tests to figure out what is going on. One does, however, need to transplant one’s ample behind from the ivory tower and actually visit a school or two. Such visits would reveal some basic, glaring facts:

  1. Teachers struggle to maintain their motivation levels;
  2. Student discipline and attendance is appalling;
  3. Parental involvement is far from what it should be;
  4. Principals and teachers are overwhelmed with departmental admin;
  5. There is no concrete plan that is committed to by all stakeholders – the system is plagued by ad-hoc requests and regular goal-post changes

If there is any further proof required that South Africa has lost another generation with outcome based education, this latest study is it. The Western Cape scored the highest in terms of performance in literacy and numeracy with a tally of a very sad 43%. Mpumalanga fared less well and sits at about a very sad 19%.

So, what is the way forward?

Firstly, South African education needs to get the basics right. Educators need an annual plan that does not keep changing every time an ample bottom in the Department lifts a cheek to pass some wind. Gathering reams of statistics from teachers will not improve literacy – increasing quality teacher time with students is likely to do a better job of that.

Admin is inevitable, and obviously some reporting is necessary, but it needs to be scheduled and streamlined, which it currently is not.

Secondly, the Department of Education should be focused on improving teacher quality and on metrics that count. Fudging Matric pass rate statistics annually may make certain individuals look good but it clearly does not measure knowledge, literacy or numeracy currently.

Thirdly, and this is by no means an easy task, government needs to drive a change agenda to build the mental link between education and prosperity. Such links exist in developing powerhouses like India and they contribute hugely to their success and growth. This in Wonkie’s opinion, is one of the key areas where the post-apartheid government has failed miserably to date. Until the value of education becomes ingrained in South African culture, the mentality of entitlement without effort will prevail.

Click to leave YOUR THOUGHTS on Basic Education in South Africa.

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  1. notaround says

    Instead of buddies in the ministry they should appoint some people with the relevant education to the relevant position.

  2. Yes very sad indeed. In the recent reports it is alledged that Kader Asmal did not believe that OBE would work. So what I cant understand is that the ANC ‘knows’ all their daft plans will not work yet go ahead and enforce the stuff. Who is this ‘ANC’ that does these daft things?

  3. When are we ALL finally going to admit that there’s an ‘elephant in the room’. Many tishaz are even dumber than the lennuz. Dumbing down has nowhere to go, but further down. The ANC has been in 100% charge for all the kids who are currently in government schools – this is no Uppertate problem. The only way to tackle a problem, yes a PROBLEM, not a ‘charlenge’, is to face up to it in the first place ! Get on with it !

  4. When we get down to the nitty gritty of the situation the ANC is only doing what is required to maintain their power as an illiterate and uneducated person will always keep the ANC in power as they are easily manipulated

  5. With the educational damage that has been done in the past 17 years it is no longer a problem but a catastrophy. It is not just academic but consists of many other problems, teachers, pupils, ethics etc. Too many to mention.

  6. They should do an educational survey of members of parliament.

  7. The Downfall of another African State.
    My Grand daughter of 10 years of age is in a certain school on the West Rand,(the Place of Poison water) where the school has a computer class of which my Grand daughter was the only white Learner and she was teaching the whole class how to operate a computer as well as the Teacher as she had no clue as how to operate a computer,the teacher now no`s the basics but unfortunately for the class my Grand daughter has moved school to Pretoria and i am afraid that whole class is now going to lose out.
    So the whole debacle starts at Government where we have uneducated people being Ministers of Education down to uneducated Teachers.
    THE FUTURE OF SOUTH AFRICA is going FAIL BECAUSE OF EDUCATION,Family,Friends and the Gravy Train.

  8. The depart of Education needs to focus more on reading lessons for the primary students, they do not have a proper reading structure in place, some gr 5 students cannot read or spell, this becomes a major problem when the students reach high school, because they do not even understand what they are reading. All these OBE projects does nothing to educate the student, but becomes an expense to poorer parents, who must pay for all these project materials.

  9. part of problem is continuation of having un-educated politicians…we can own mines and land…but who will determine the end products and price if we have less educated nations.the other is origination of a wellfare state,where most of the people feel that the government will compesate for their failure somehow.Our government’s ignorant for education will sell our human and natural resource to the western powers,we will just be trained to serve them.The other thing is our habit as citizens,to stay back and look while things are messed up.

  10. Alpha Mahlangu says

    I keep hearing the sad story about teachers and principals being bogged down by admin work – and I ask the question why?
    In my hmble opinion I would think that admin work needs to be left to administrators to handle – What that means is that we start looking at qualified personnel whose duty it would be to administrate, nothing else but releave the teachers from this duty completely. You need a team of administrators who would understand the needs of the teacher and student, without being a teacher but also qualified at it and I belive this could add value to the education in general.I say this from my experience as a Technical School administrator and it worked well.

  11. Dukie 743 says

    Waffle, waffle, waffle and just blame everything on apartheid is all what this ANC led government is about. And this will be the case for many years to come. They have looted the state coffers of taxpayers money meant for the poor for over 17 years and they have no intention changing their ways. The fact is that this government do not know how to govern. The man at the very top of the government and ANC is himself very uneducated.

  12. Collitjies says

    Our educational system for the want of a better word has been down graded to suit the majority. Most are in a position where they just cannot be educated by normal methods. Possibly they should all be treated like pupils with learning disabilities. Most of the present teachers(not all) don’t have a clue as to how to educate anybody, its a crying shame that our schools were among the best in the world. If the ANC carry on with this banana republic style attitude then they only have themselves to blame and NOT apartheid.

  13. I think not only the ministry is the problem but the education system as well. You see it continues to entrench white supremacy to our children. Blacks are educated to become formal slaves when whites are educated to become managers of the black people. It condemns Afrikan traditions and values and embraces Western values. We cannot blame black children for failing when all subject are taught in a foreign language. How do you expect a Zulu,Sotho speaking person to master Physics which is not taught in Zulu or Sotho.

  14. Send the kids home they are not learning anyway. Then send the Teachers and Administrators to school. Start at the top before you try and work from the bottom up. The problem will then be: “What will the Pass rate be of the administrators?” Seems as though this is going to go on year after year. Has anyone got R100.00 to bet against my projection?

  15. where except here in mzansi where you find an overall change in education system, and replace it with far lesser system called OBE to those teacher who were taught during that era and expect the to master it? indirectly you are sending thoseeducators to go and take out their anger in booze with the very same pupil they are teaching….i’ts a shame…ag sies man!

  16. Yep some WILL blame white supremacy for their own failures to learn and adapt to a normal balanced, educated society. Some well educated WHITE teachers not far from where we live have various complexes where they help children on subjects that they struggle with. They have told us that they never get to bed before 1.00 am as they still have to do their normal after hour duties, preparations, markings etc. The children they help are in state owned schools.
    These teachers are doing this as part of a community uplifting program that a group of churches and other denominations have started in a few suburbs around us. We are busy compiling various articles for the kids art work classes for the school holiday clubs they have, to keep the children off the streets. There are a lot of black families living in our area, big homes and luxury cars but the children seem to be left on their own during the day time. (They can drive cheaper cars , send their children to better schools and the little ones to nursery school.

  17. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Mzu – get real !! 34 years ago the then Minister of Education in Botswana said that he wanted to phase out English as a medium of education in Botswana and have the pupils taught in their mother tongue – even in the (then) University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. I asked him which publisher was prepared to have the text books translated and then printed for such a small market. Naturally, he did not answer. My own research proved that NO publisher would take on such a task without a MASSIVE subsidy from the Government – otherwise it would be a case of pouring money down the sewer.
    In any case the vast majority of Primary Schools teach in “Mother Tongue” and it is the children in these primary schools who are showing such a huge percentage of illiteracy and innumeracy – IN THEIR MOTHER TONGUE !!!
    The answer is not to change language (unless you want to change all the schools to English) but to ensure that the children at the beginning of their educational journey have the most talented and motivated TEACHERS – not “educators” – who will instil into their charges both the will and the motivation to do well. (by the way – educate comes from Latin ex ducare to lead out or to draw out – and you cannot lead or draw out anything from a pupil if the groundwork has not first been TAUGHT)
    At the age of 8 years, I was given (along with the rest of my class) a tiny piece of paper each and every school morning immediately after school assembly. The teacher then presented us with ten mental arithmetic problems and we had no paper on which to do calculations – just the paper for the answers, and before the end of the first term more than 90% of us kids were getting 9 or more right answers out of 10 EVERY DAY.
    Get kids started with training and repetition with praise and “rewards” for work well done and the “e-ducation” can take off from a solid platform – in ANY language.
    Start the three ‘R’s (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) well and the Physics etc will follow.

  18. So you are basically agreeing for me that the problem is Western Eurocentric Education system which is foreign to Afrikan pupils. Unless that can be solved you will find such problems. This is junk to our children and they will always fail and you’ll find white pupils excelling.

  19. I am pleasantly surprised, when I opened the comments excepting for Phred they were all new faces. I am just waiting to see how long it takes for OBAA, Mzu and Peace to join the fray.

    However I must thank Wonkie for leading these debates, and thank Fatboy for giving us so much to comment on. The education system seems to be more about admin than education and more about avoiding teaching than anything else. Whatever system is being introduced it will not work unless everyone involved has a commitment. Every year after the Matric results some Principal of a high performing Township or rural school appears on TV to explain their success and the story is always the same. Keep the kids in school , keep the teachers in the classroom, reduce absenteeism. You cannot learn or teach if you are not there. The Principals of non performing schools never appear on TV, they are too busy running their shebeens and taxis. The education department is also to blame, among their faults is calling meetings at short notice nad pulling Principals and Teachers out of their jobs to listen to the next shitload of education policy. I have a pal who was a Principal of a former model C school (one which has a black pupil majority and which he put on the way to an equity basis for teachers). He finally gave up in despair with his dealings with the Education Department and resigned. He now eorks in Saudi Arabia and returns here for most of his holidays. He has stopped his Blood Pressure medication and seems very fit and healthy. As a head teacher, he is only involved in Academics leaving Admin to an admin manager, the poll cleaning and maintenance to a building manager and collection of school fees to an accountant.

    A literate and educated population is the only key to prosperity and for our kids the best way to quality employment. If Fatboy and his gang are doing nothing about that then they are letting down the youth and South Africa.

  20. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Mzu – again – your Julius genes are showing again with your racist remarks – “blacks…to become formal slaves” and “whites … managers of black people”.
    Have you tried to find out how many “black” science graduates there have been over the last 10-15 years compared with the “white” graduates taken as a percentage of the total science graduates? If so, you will agree that the percentage is steadily increasing. Check up on how many went to English or Afrikaans Medium Schools from day 1 and you will find that they are – by far – in the majority. An understanding of the “foreign” language from day one sure beats trying to learn it and the subject specialist terms (or ‘jargon’) at the same time.

  21. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Mzu – I’m so sorry that I missed your response whilst I was writing my second comment but you have missed my point entirely. The three ‘R’s have absolutely NOTHING to do with ethnicity and everything to do with attitude and application. It does not matter at all if the pupil is learning in English, Setswana, isiXhosa, or Outer Mongolian – what matters is the basic training and practice. After the war in Viet-Nam many Vietnamese emigrated to America where they were taught in (American) English just like so many Koreans who fled North Korea to America after the Korean War and they had few problems adjusting to the “foreign” (or ‘foreign-devil’) language and producing highly qualified graduates in all fields of science, industry and commerce. Because they had BASIC TRAINING in their primary school systems !!! Or do you classify Vietnamese and Koreans as “white”?

  22. The teachers need to be educated before they can pass their knowledge to
    the students. Exactly what the hell have they been doing since 1994, are we
    starting the blaming game, oh…. shame because of apartheid, we did not
    have the opportunity…. and now that they have or suppose to have….
    what are they doing about it. I am so sick and tired of hearing about the
    education debate. Where does the dicipline and encouragement come from….
    lst from their home and 2nd from the government…. now that is debatable.

  23. a-maize-ingly-corny you are right, companies are complaining about new recruits, they find it extremely difficult to employ according to the companies need and not according to the law. When we started the 3 A’s was a factor that applied. Attitude, Application and aptitude. Since that was abandoned many companies are complaining about absenteeism without solid acceptable reasons, theft has increased by a few hundred percent, this is just a few of the facts. Lets hope that this will also change back to the previous system. The saying of employers: Fit in according to our rules and regulations that you accepted as a condition of employment or go find yourself another job suitable for your attitude and skills. I do not include the few companies that exploits there employees or treat them badly but are talking about companies that treats their employees on a equal fair basis. After all employees are paid for duties and therefor the best of their abilities should be given.

  24. I am still inspired by the fact that we have some dedicated teachers. My granddaughter in Grade 1 is being taught, at a Govt school, by a lady who taught one of my daughters. My granddaughter loves going to school and says her favourite subject is reading. So it can be done with the right people. So we need to send the ‘educators’ back to the ‘factory’ for some adjustment.

  25. Mzu. The whites brought schools to this country. Stop blaming the whites if you can’t absorb an education

  26. Madoba you are just a headless chicken going out of its way to kiss the masters ass. I wish I knew if you were black or white. I remain on my point that education system embraces western values and discredits Afrikan values.

  27. Wow, I wonder were is this young nation going. You put a plate on the table but no they dont want it, they want to go for themself to have what they want.
    For instead,Most of the School this days are for free, they dont have to pay, they go for free, but they are too spoilled, they even hav Lunch at School for free. This is too sad, at the end of the day they are not making any progress of their lives.

  28. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Mzu – get off your habit of making everything about race – or is ‘Mzu’ a nickname to hide the identity of the infamous JM ? What does it matter whether ‘Madoba’ is “black” or “white” – or, for that matter, anywhere in between? What matters is how YOU react and the obvious racism you express every time you touch your keyboard.
    You want to reject “western values” – is it your African value to spell ‘African’ as ‘Afrikan’? or is correct spelling a “western value”?

  29. Spiritwolf says

    @Mzu you do know your proving everyones point of lack of education right? Did you even go to school? Did you find in science class the subject was white western supremacy? interesting theories that..also who implemented performance based education? why the new governement you elected..and your going on about white supremacy?? just goes to show why ALL students-white,black, coloured, yellow, green, purple, irrespective of colour are getting less education and more political garbage. oh by the way good luck translating string theory or adavanced cybernetics into zulu, xhosa, etc..sadly unless you passed and form of schooling, you would relise african languages are limitied in word content and description to describe lazers, quantum physics etc..ergo, most international learning is in english…ENGLISH, its a language, not a western ploy to convert zulus..etc..oh btw, you do know if your born in Africa we are all African’s right? irrespective of colour..right?? oh never mind..

  30. Spiritwolf that is a lie, you are not Afrikan if your roots cannot be traced in Afrika. Maize I spell Afrika this way because I am uneducated, I refuse to be taught how to be a disciplined slave. People I am not a racist but let us call spades as that and holes ,holes. I hate no one but if you try to fool black people by saying that we and you can live in harmony then you are fooling yourself. White supremacy is racism and no black can be a racist as we have no economic power to do so. If you love harmony you will not seat on wealth that blood was spilled for you to have earn it, either by you or your forefathers. Back to education system, you cannot ask black people to administer a European model of transfering information. This model is a waste of time as it focuses more on theory than practicals and that feeds garbage to the children so much that by the time they get to the 10th grade they have forgotten about what they learnt in the 3rd grade. Inequality between surbuban(white) public schools and township(black) public schools in terms of resources is also something that you cannot just brush aside. Non of the government departements can perfom at all if they all have market orientated solutions(Capitalism at the centre). This system has been failing globally and you simply cannot solve anything without dismantling it. This was inherited from the apartheid government and Mandela sold out because he knew what capitalism is capable of but he agreed to continue with the system of greed.

  31. Andre Piek says

    @Mzu – I agree the schools in South Africa adopt a Western style. But, may I ask, what exactly would you say is the African style and Afrikan values?

    Are counting, reading and writing not part of the Afrikan value set? How would you change the education system to embrace these questionably different values you speak of? I’m very curious to learn about this.

  32. Yep English should be the language used for education being a black myself I know that many of the african languages have no grammar. Just listen to them when they talk about money, the amount is always mentioned in english. I am proud of having attended a Jewish private school that teaches in English. SA government minister of education should check out some of the ciriculum’s used in private schools. I now attend university in the United States in Oklahoma and had I not been schooled at a higher grade then most model c schools have I guarantee I would not have been accepted at this university and would have had to repeat grade 11 and 12 with a good pass rate to qualify for university. I was also informed that most companies here base salary increases on performance based records. It is so sad that SA’s education (scholars and teachers) seems to be of no value to many, they would rather work for a pittance then to improve their quality of life by knowledge and wisdom and then complain about their compensation by rioting and striking.

  33. Josh pasi says

    I think the education ministry should work hand in glove with countries that have seen success stories, eg Zimbabwe and maybe Uk

  34. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Mzu – casting aside your assertion that the “European model” is a waste of time because in over 95% of the world this is patently NOT so, we come to your statement that “… you cannot ask black people to administer …” – does this mean that you want “white” people to run the Department of Education? It certainly sounds like it. Angie Motshega and Blade Nzimande take note of Mzu’s opinion – it seems like he has become a “white racist” too.

    Unfortunately I do have to agree with you on one small part of one of your statements – that the practice in South Africa is to focus “more on theory than practicals” especially in the sciences and earth sciences where practical application is the truly desirable path to understanding. However this applies across the whole spectrum of schools and can be blamed on the syllabus/examination system as applied in South Africa rather than on the subject content or the ‘model’ of education. Theory is TEACHING but practical experience is EDUCATION.

  35. Spiritwolf says

    i hate to break your ignorance and point out your lack of education…BUT, a person is named after the continent they are born in , ergo we are both African’s. and just so you know, because of your attitude and seperationalism Africa and the rest of the world will never move into a peacefull era and get on together, i hesitate to point out, it is you who is a seperist and racist, not I. But of course you cannot see the logic in that as you appear stuck in your uneducated opinion and no amount of stating the obvious will become aparent to the likes of yourself.

  36. I hear your views and can attest to some of them. Spiritwolf race is a problem and we cannot shy away from that. I am anxious to hear your views about the capitalist system which is at the heart of everything that our government does and also the inequality in terms of resources in South african schools.

  37. @ Mzu , I am so grateful that I am a black, and even more grateful that I discovered at an very early age that I too have a potential and my race is no handicap. I say this with no disrespect to any other race except that we should all be happy about the race we are. Aptitudes also differ in races, the germans are excellent engineers, and so are the Japanese, most afrikaans speaking people seem to have a flair for almost any profession, and that is due to their makeup of many european races. Make a study of these genetic attributes and you will find that each nation excels in some form of academics, artisans, etc. and so each nation can contribute to another nation , and that is how trading was developed many many years ago. Therefor each nation is important as well as each human being that forms a nation.

  38. Glad you are Peanuts. Can we focus on the system and inequality then now.

  39. Spiritwolf says

    @Peanuts, well said. @Mzu there is now currently under your voted leadership a president and political party that has had many years to change things for the better, but sadly greed and lack of re-education from a nation fighting a war of apartheid on a physical level needing to change to fight a war on a mental level. in other words, we like our western cars, western toilet that flushes and western money instead of trading, but can’t seem to get arround the other benifits that made those things possible, like inventing, education, and a education system that has proven to work. Why is it African americans do not seem to struggle with this concept and thrive and are leaders in thnking and leading Nations..but yet Local Africans struggle with this concept? Easy to explain, it is all new to them and are finding it hard to give up an era of killing things with a spear and shield in their hands instead of a pen and paper..

  40. So much for an educated person. I was speaking of the macro economic policies which were imposed in all the third world countries upon independance. These were called structural adjustment programs (SAP’s). Basically this means governments should cut spending on education, health and so on. The World Bank and IMF imposed these macri economic policies on the third world countries. Now you find that less than 5% of the national budget is spent on education and health but more than that is spent on servicing debt which was inherited from former colonial masters. This has meant then expert those who were disadvantage during the apartheid era were going to continue to suffer and those who benefited from apartheid along with those who were co-opted by the apartheid beneficiaries would be in a position to pay for better education. Even model C public schools pay exorbintant school fees which enables them to pay for more teachers and school equipment. This meant then in township public schools there would be shortage of teachers which infact discourages these workers as they have to teach more than 50 pupils in an hour and go on to teach another 50 in the next period. For once let us check facts instead of being ignorant about the fact that inequality still exists. This education problem is not a problem to white children and blacks that can afford like Peanuts but a problem to the majority of blacks who still find themselves trapped in the apartheid system. Read policy documents so you can have an informed critique instead of looking at matters on the surface. I know you will ignore the facts and jump to the race issue. Please as intellectuals look at the facts.

  41. Spiritwolf says

    Well said Mzu. Using words like colonial, masters and to quote yourself: “Blacks are educated to become formal slaves when whites are educated to become managers of the black people.” is definetly not said with a racial point of view when , what did you use to describe yourself? oh yes, black, when we have a black president, mostly black parliment, black minister of so who do You have to thank for the current education system in your “learned” explanation above? oh you so asutely said.. blacks such as yourself, so in essence your saying you have only yourself to blame for the current “western colonial” education system..go figure on taking responsibility instead of blaming a party or group of people of years past.

  42. Mzu, you say “This model is a waste of time as it focuses more on theory than practicals and that feeds garbage to the children so much that by the time they get to the 10th grade they have forgotten about what they learnt in the 3rd grade. ” The great Einstein is quoted on DSTV as saying “Education is what remains after you have forgotten everything you learned at school” Therefore it is not a waste of time.

  43. It seems as if I am debating with the cartoons in your profile pics here. Can we please then move from the personal attacks and engage on the policies that I have noted in my last comment. We’ve been doing this for weeks and it is not solving anything.

  44. HeyMzu, I do not come from a rich family, my dad left my mother when I was 3 months old. At that time my mom was only a housekeeper although she had matric, Her employers uplifted her sent her on various courses that they paid for and she later became a partner in their small business. She is still with them and they and other members of the congregation paid for my schooling, we did not receive any govt. grants either. If it was not that my mom has strong faith and principles our circumstances could have been much different. Her attitude and willingness to learn was quickly spotted by her employers and she was given the option to decide for herself if she wants to take up the offer or not. My hosts here in the USA is considering to offer my mom a position and will help her to get here should she want to come. They have met and spoke to her on skype. You must just change your attitude. except the conditions as they are right now and start to focus in a direction you know that will suit your aptitude as well being able to be a constructive contributor to make life better for all those around you. Avoid conditions and circumstances that keeps you miserable, the wrong company and conversations has a dramatic effect, it poisons your mind and soul. When push comes to shove those with the big mouths blaring all sorts of indoctrinations is all words and no action and will not be around to help you when you need them.

  45. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    @ Mzu. Stop whining! You are so easy to attack! You say you are glad that Peanuts is grateful to be black and then say we should focus on the issue – FINE. THEN you wander off into macro-economic policies and the IMF and World Bank imposing policies which cut spending on Education and Health in order to service debt when the debt is being built up by reckless spending on arms deals and the massive back-door incomes of some of the (dare I say it? “black”) politicos involved in the wheeling and dealing – please note that I have not mentioned the many tender process activities that have brought wierd coloured blushes to the faces of many public figures (and I won’t mention your favourite – JM).
    If those of us who take you on for your extreme (and skewed) views are cartoons that you are debating with then you must be GOOFY.
    Back to the issue – and you have actually raised a good point when you mention class size. Indeed it not unusual in our current system under the present ‘government’ policy for class sizes to be as many as fifty and even more. Perhaps it is time for South Africa’s ‘popular government’ to look outside our borders – No! not at Europe and not at America but at some of the SADC countries around us. In Botswana class sizes are regulated by law – grades 1-6 not more than 40 children per class; grades 7-9 not more than 35 and grades 10-12 not more than 30. In Zambia secondary school classes may not exceed 35 pupils – I don’t know the figures for primary classes.
    In South Africa – in the formerly “white” schools, the schools which became ‘Model C’ and most of which have been taken over by the ‘popular government’ SELF-REGULATED their class sizes, optimising the pupil/teacher ratio, whilst the (then) government schools were left to enrol as many as they wished. After 1994 schools were no longer allowed to say that their classes were full – they had to accept any and all who applied for admission (on the understanding that they had “passed” the previous standard) and any-one who had “failed” (as if!!!) HAD to be allowed to repeat the standard.
    Get real – the overcrowding in “black” schools is a result of the “black” government’s policy – it may not be in the policy documents that you seem to think stand on a par with the Ten Commandments or Stalin’s Five Year Plans – but it is there on the ground for all who have eyes to see – eyes that are not covered in rose-coloured glasses (black rose that is).

    By the way, Bugs Bunny is REALLY smart.

  46. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    @ Peanuts. Well said, brother. You must be Bugs Bunny whilst Mzu is totally Goofy

  47. Good for you Peanuts but this not about you but about the 50% of children who live under iUS dollar a day. Leet’s just say you were lucky but is everyone lucky? I see maize you only look at corruption which I am not disputing but the ultimate problem is institutionalised. Capitalism turns lovely people like you to be greedy.

  48. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    @ Mzu – thanks for calling me a lovely person. But I don’t see how I’m greedy as I live on pension.
    As to corruption, first of all we should ALL look at corruption AND TALK ABOUT IT !! Secondly, I’m so glad that you don’t dispute it and agree that the problem is institutionalised. So let’s get the corruption out of the institution!

  49. Maize I did not say you were greedy but saying corruption turns pastors into crooks. We cannot get corruption out of the way when our economic system is based on individual profits and not needs based. Politicians see it as a career to be a politician and not as a community server.

  50. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Finally Mzu you are seeing some of the truth. You know who the career politicians are. They are the ones who talk the loudest and with the most extravagant (empty) promises. The ones who seek glory at the expense of the ordinary (I almost said ‘common’) person and the taxes we pay/paid. The ones who take their place in ‘Government’ and MILK it for all the GRAVY that’s available while they can (did someone mention Mubarak et al ?).

    Activate yourself and get rid of these leeches. bring in the people who truly WILL be community servers – but don’t leave the thinkers out for good intentions alone are not enough. Every ship of state needs a good rudder as well as a well supplied engine. And good rudders and well supplied engines come from sound education.

    And that brings us back to the beginning of the whole sorry story.

    Congratulations on starting to ‘get real’!!!

  51. hahahaahahahahahaha thanks mentoor. But we must also not run away from the fact that all of this is inherited from the apartheid state as well. Whites in South Africa enjoy a very luxurious lifestyle at the expense of the blacks. The ANC which many of confuse me as its member is keeping the apartheid status quo(White supremacy). No amount of intelligence in a politician is going to change peoples lives but the people must directly be involved in everything. As much as I am not a good fan of democracy but it has to be implemented in a different form. There is represantative democracy which is the popular version and the most ridiculous version of democracy as people subsidies the ruling elite with votes so they can enrich themselves. There is also participatory democracy which means people can all come with ideas and votes will be on those basis not voting ANC, DA e.t.c. but vote for needs be done. The probem with this democracy is it compromises profits which are driving investors to invest in a particular country. To cut this short then Western influence in the thirdworld countries is not good at all as it promotes market orientated solutions to Afrikan problems which have proved globally to be self destructive.

  52. The greatest tragedy is that SADTU calls the tune that government dances to. SADTU protects, entrenches and promotes its teacher members at the expense of learners’ education, no matter how shoddy the “work” that they do. Government won’t stand up to SADTU, therefore none of government’s plans for Education will ever come to anything. Don’t get me wrong – there are individual teachers who do outstanding work in very trying circumstances. Unfortunately, thanks to the system supported by SADTU, such individuals cannot be properly recognized and rewarded for their sacrifices, so they become a dying breed, to be replaced by a an amorphous mass of mediocrity, which is what is currently teaching our kids.

  53. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Yes Mzu – your getting real has definitely taken a foothold – “.. African problems … have proved globally to be self destructive.”
    Whether you subscribe to PAC or SACP or AZAPO or any of the other fringe and extreme ideologies, anyone can see from your 10:26 posting that you have no real time for the ANC. Even the vast majority of “whites” in South Africa have more respect for Madiba than you have. He, at least, is a man of supreme integrity. He fully supported the “black” struggle but refused to lead people on a hate campaign. His public AND PRIVATE life show this also. It is just so unfortunate that the ANC leaders who say that they are carrying on his legacy have not yet inherited his spectacles because they obviously are not seeing clearly that his legacy was for ALL South Africans – not just Xhosa, not just “black” and not just the “previously disadvantaged” (let alone the “currently” disadvantaged – that is yet another topic for another day).
    Expand your mind – remove the hate – accept each individual for what s/he is – judge after learning and not from pre-judging for pre-judging is both blind and ignorant.
    I think it is time for us to stop this conversation and allow a bit of space for others – by the way you are welcome to the last word.

  54. Unfortunately some have racial issues with all other races except their own. It is cleaning up time and one normally starts at home. Fair enough if the previous regime prior to 1994 had done more for black education not mentioning the schools that was burnt down they first of all would not have had so many children that they could not afford to supply their basic needs.
    Had education been the same for all many would have had a much better life and would have realized that children are a major responsibility and proper family planning would have eliminated these huge overcrowded homes. The previous disadvantage would have had a good chance if the take over rulers where not so obsessed with themselves and material gains far more then their needs. The country now needs to live from all the corruption which depleted all the funds. Many top engineers, medical, teaching, Hrd people who paid a substantial amount of tax have left. Those paying taxes now are far less so the coffers are becoming bare. Many companies that contributed large sums to the receiver have closed down. These factors can not be blamed on just a certain race. The takeover from the start was a major disaster, many experienced top qualified people where just laid off and other with no experience, or academic qualifications were given these managerial positions. The majority can not really isolate the real problem as they still just believe their chiefs, what ever they say they except as truth but they continue to blame aparthate.

  55. Mzu. Facts are facts. There are no white facts or black facts except in the heads of ultra racists. Seems to me you should have been born in Germany 100 years ago. Then you could have joined the Hitler youth. Seems your ideas would have fitted in well there

  56. MZU – This is for you. “Embrace a better attitude”

    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” – Charles R. Swindoll –

  57. People no matter how you look at it but you cannot with clear facts and not emotions dispute the fact that whites are still oppressing black people with the help of the black elite. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world and surpassed Brazil 2 if not 3 years ago. 80 % of land and wealth is in the hands of 10 % of the population. This 10 % of the population is 95 % white. Now let us put hatred and all these emotional beverages you are trying to make drunk with aside whilst the whites are sober and continuing to perpetuate what their forefathers were perpetuating. We all understand that whites in South Africa and everywhere in the world did not work hard to earn the wealth they possess now but killed people in order to get it. We cannot speak of peace when whites are still in position of what they stole from blacks, it is really unfair now to speak of peace and hatred whilst white people are the most evil people on earth. Not only did they destroy Blacks but they destroyed all the other races on earth only because they were scared of being annihilated on planet earth as a minority. Now please don’t come to me and convince me that I am the devil when you are offsprings of an evil race.

  58. One wonders when you look at the statistics of murders in our country. More blacks have been killed by blacks. Mzu if this is a game of chess: checkmate

  59. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Boy, oh boy, did I make a mistake to offer Mzu the last word!
    Of the 57 comments posted at the time I write this one, the 10 posted by Mzu stand out as the only ones holding the opinion of one side of this debate. All of the other 47 (and yes that includes 10 of mine) stand on the other side.
    I believe that we should allow Mzu to think that he has won this debate with a majority of 1 – after all some-one who has been so well brainwashed (as if it were done by a Viet Cong master) is NEVER going to be convinced by the truth.
    The other 26 of us must simply be content to be the defeated minority. (So what else is new in the new SA?)
    Ya, Mzu, I took back my offer of the last word – never trust a pensioner!

  60. Ignorance only will not dispute the facts above. Infact like forefathers like grandchildren. They were so ignorant that they thought they were super human beings.

  61. a-maize-ingly-corny, just love your statistics, where would we as pensioners be if we did not have a sense of humor. Like they say the best referee is normally sitting amongst the spectators.

  62. I doubt your education credentials which you have been all boasting about if you fail to see how whites are the villains here. Peace as a pensioner maybe you can shed a light to your young whiteys here about your SA history as white people. You don’t have to say we colonised but you can put it nicely as we conquered blacks and took what they did not want and used it.

  63. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Mzu reminds me of the man who was driving to work when his wife called him and told him to be careful as it had been broadcast on the news that there was a person driving on the freeway in the wrong direction. His answer to her was ” What do you mean? They’re ALL driving the wrong way”

  64. What is wrong with my contribution here? Is it because not everyone is fooled by this peace (white supremacy indisguise) or you are just playing dumb? I know you all know your history but you are just running away from it because facing it means compromising your current priviledges in life. One day everyone will see the truth and I’m afraid what will happen. Maize, I’d rather be a fool alone or with the other balcks than be an expert with whites who will always look at me inferior even if I can be more educated than them. You people are so disgusting so much that you do not care about your stolen wealth but still continue to make blacks the wou can all go to hell for that matter along with these blacks that you colonised and now they can’t see you for who you really are.

  65. a-maize-ingly-corny says


  66. So much for the topic of education. Mz everytime I see that name a song comes to my mind: There’s a hole in the bucket and the same story comes through the hole every time.

    I saw that Rama also complains about the education system. No use nationalizing and no expertise to manage it all. She is absolutely right.

  67. Sorry typing error should be ramos.

  68. Just checked my mail and there it was in most the comments: The swan song of mzu. My friend thinks it is like someone being stuck like a broken record and then get paid to do it. It may be the logic behind it how can a person sit all day long and post the same comment over and over again. I am sure Wonkie will soon close these blogs, nevertheless some good advice comes across if you ignore the swan song.

  69. The problem is the truth is a swan song. You see it would be very good for you if history would be buried because all the land you have now would forever be yours.

  70. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    @ Peanuts – I wonder if Mzu has ever heard a swan sing – it is the most raucous and ugly sound in the whole bird kingdom – in short most of what he has uttered in the last couple of days.

  71. Mzu, Maize and Peace, you have all lost the plot. Instead of making racial comments and slinging mud at each other and instead of pontificating about past wrongs, why don’t you try something original. Like use your brains to come up with decent ideas on how to change the future – something that might give hope to to the millions of children that are stuck in this mess. Come on, the clock is ticking….

  72. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    @ hobo. If you had actually READ the postings on Monday afternoon – 24 hours before your own “pontificating” about the harm created and control exercised by SADTU, you would have realised that I HAD offered a suggestion – one which I consider a “decent idea” – which is to get into TEACHING the basics from which EDUCATION can rise.
    Alternatively – YOU could come up with a positive idea instead of simply bashing SADTU and the Department of Education.

  73. Hobo thanks man, The problem is the system of greed (capitalism). If the has to be a profit after everything the state has to deliver then chances are there are those who won’t afford basic services. In this case the majority of poor SA children fail to receive adequate education and receive second hand or no education at all. If we can have a single education, health system which no profits can be made from then we can achieve most of our goals. I also think there is less humanity to those who make profits out of childrens’ future and lives…………. This system is gross.

  74. Spiritwolf says

    I don’t know why myself and the rest of the none-Mzu clan even bother responding, because it appears to me this is the disease in this country, far easier blaming a past than building bridges and building a future together. far easier blaming someone else than actually getting of your lazy bum and educating yourself, far easier living in ignorance, as they say ignorance is bliss, and far easier quoting stats gotten off goggle than actually understanding the current problems that beset a country, continent and world. Human’s will never get out of the mire we are stuck in, its like the scorpion said to the frog, its my nature…

  75. Yep agree about a better education but some of us do not go around blowing our trumpet about our activities on uplifting and educational programs. We have started many years ago already but as we mentioned before far more people have the ability and resources to do the same but seem to have no interest. They do not realize that by uplifting those around you that you can effects the whole nation and so a chain reaction can develop until we have reached all those in need. If allowed I will try and find out and will give you the web location of the college we are involved with training teachers on ECD.

  76. Living in denial is very nice but the reality is always there.

  77. Spiritwolf says

    Mzu say that alot to yourself – Denial….especially when your watching a USA news program depicting the current US president voted in by The US people. denial..denial is when i help people, train them, do volenteer work, privately and in our corporation, denial must be when i am not th eoriginator of peoples plight, but am part of the solution, but i guess your denial does not see the good that people do…denial is living in your own shit and saying there is no toilet, but instead of cleaning yourself, getting up, digging a hole and squatting, youd rather sit in it and complain about it, yes, your right, your in denial.

  78. like in the military and the police; gov to hire the reserve teachers with the sole purpose to train kids after school hours…gaps to be determined and must just do cader training and remain under the authorityof the school master…education wayawaya///these kids have a lot of time to play

  79. Mzu. Iagree with you! Capitalist greed is at the heart of our problems. In this country the biggest capitalists are “deployed” cadres. People with dodgy education and little if any experience are plugged into multi million rand jobs. And then they f@#$k it up and the taxpayer pays, including that guy who pays 14% VAT on that can of coke. And by the way, the most valuable thing that whiteys exported to Africa was technology. Do you expect that for free? But of course. You are the take over people. Because you could never create anything. Thank God for Madiba. He got a Nobel peace prize. Flat Wheel got it as a …

  80. (continued) born again Nat. But who else in Africa has ever won this award? That group of people in the world known as the “Jews” are about 1% of the world’s population. But they hold 10% of the Nobel prizes. Why do we not emulate the Israeli education system? No! We couldn’t do that! We would be failing fraternal brothers. South Africa needs to look after its own people first. JZ come home. You have more important work here than being a political playboy.

  81. Madoba I am very disappointed in your stupid comments. You are a disgrace to such a debate. You sound like someone who wasted your parents money by going to school, infact that’s what happens when all you coconuts think education is to inform rather than indoctrinate. Keep on fooling yourself and say you are well educated. You are qualified in being a fool man, that no one can take that from you. You make want to puke.

  82. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Careful Mzu !!! Spiritwolf will expect to sit in your vomit as well as your shit.

    Don’t you think (No! you don’t think) – don’t you think that the time has come to see that you are alone with your theories ? Just accept that there are many shades of opinion but none of those shades comes near to yours.

  83. Sure our education is in distress, take some peoples grammar they were taught needless to mention some ethics. For sure it is time that education institutions should also concentrate on ethics and attitudes besides academics. No one has ever been successful by being negative or fail to recognize the good things in life and you only get out of life what you put into it. Nobody will take note of anything when it is full of vile it will surely be rejected. Honey is sweeter then aloe. Seeing how some of the youngsters that attended schools in the past 16 years lacks an awful amount of integrity. They should change back to the system when there was discipline and no place for stubborn children that did not keep to the rules. Unfortunately some teachers do not care either and a good life has little meaning for them. It is on account of that why children are starting to participate in riots etc. they see the adults doing it and think it must be the right thing to do. What an example to our youth as they will do what grownups do. You can not say to a child ; do as you are told when you do not set an good example, by doing that a child looses trust as well as respect for adults.

  84. Mzu. My thinking is in step with most of humanity. Yours clearly is not

  85. education is the key to success and it should be respected guys

  86. Who cares if I am alone in my ideas. I so do not wish to side with white people, it means I am going in the right direction.

  87. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    The only thing wrong with Mzu’s last posting is the word “right”

  88. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    perhaps he meant “left”

  89. Mock me dear I don’t give a damn what you think of me.

  90. There’s no African education,or world education.We are bound to review our standard against international.Capitalism or no capitalism,how many communists do we have.Crisis in education is just one of government failures which will lead to public protests.Thnx God I’m not from Zimbabwe and don’t tollerate government’s nonsense that much,he he he.No more revolution party or government,people want action.

  91. Mashudu maybe you’re not Afrikan either.

  92. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Ya Mzu – Mashudu is not AfriKan – he is AfriCan which means that like the vast majority on this continent he CAN think clearly and does not need to rely on KANT (or is that kan’t?)

  93. Spiritwolf says

    Sad really some people acuse me of bringing racial slures into a suposed intelegent debate, but yet keeps refering to us captilists, whiteys etc etc and such. Interestingly this educated person…speaks like one pretends to be one, its called “monkeying” *shrug* go figure. Aparently anyone that doesnt believe everyone from the west side of the planet doesnt understand education or African issues, one wonders if some think if you go far enough west arrive from the east…

  94. You people think I care about you. I don’t give a damn about what whites think of me.

  95. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Obviously Mzu is not a coconut – brown on the outside white inside – nor is he a lychee – white on the outside and dark brown in the middle. I guess that makes him a cabbage – green through and through.
    And since he has accepted that he is a cartoon –
    – a GOOFY cabbage!!!

  96. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    Coconuts and lychees are sweet
    Cabbages —-

  97. Spiritwolf says

    @Mzu wow, i am absolutely floored at the brutal honesty…words fail me.

  98. Education, education,: It is becoming very very difficult for South Africans to study in the US now. Experience they have had previously from some Africans has made it difficult for others now to study there. I was given a website to check out the reasons and just could not believe what has happened there. Even adoptions of poverty stricken and abandoned children are now under scrutiny and may not be allowed in the near future anymore. We had a call from the host and sponsors of Peanuts to post a hand written testimonial of him, including a photo and our ID numbers. I checked out the website I was given and it was horrifying what some of them has done. Peanuts is doing well and we know he will do his best just like he has always done. He had to do a six months preliminary course at the college of the University, his good performance, results and attitude will be taken to account for him to qualify for University entrance and bursary. The yanks are way ahead of us and is now on the right track concerning foreign students.

  99. Ellyn Knepshield says

    hey dudes!! Super site!

  100. This is the most important subject.

  101. THOKO MOLEFE says

    it is very unfortunate that we usually shy away from talking about Apartheid and its effects on Black individual South Africans and hence fail to address the real effects. As long as we develop good policies on everything else and ignore to develop those that will target transforming the human mind from apartheid mentality we will go no where. what is happeniing with our education system is a result of just that. Apartheid has been abolished on paper but the human mind is still living it because its policies were meant to reduce its proper functioning and is now recycling itself. we should all go back to the drawing board for the sake of our beloved country and stop blaming game. it will get us nowhere. people that did not experience the evil policies do not know anything about experiences people suffered save for information from different media. and people that experienced are unconsciously living it in their minds and hence the behaviour that we witness everyday. let us all, from man in the street to politicians, academics, etc, bring our minds and strategise on how we address this, not educationists only. people that did not experience apartheid should be involved so that they understand why some racial groupd behave differently from others so that they alsocontribute to addressing these issues instead of either blaming or becoming onlookers. we will ultimately all be affected.

  102. Druscilla van Niekerk says

    My opinion of improving the literacy level is; reduce the educator learner ratio. At the moment it is 39learners : 1 educator. This to me is one of the biggest problems. All other problems will be less if educators have fewer leaners in class. Discipline problems, literacy and numeracy problems will be less.

  103. Adriaan Knoetze says

    I facilitated quite a few places in the Eastern Cape during 2012. I found that almost half the learners sent through the Department of Public Works through the EPWP PROGRAMMES are illiterate! I was shocked. If you cannot write your name than you cannot read, you need to be developed. These people do not have money and I feel that government should step in somehow. I am more than willing to travel throughout the Eastern Cape to present Literacy Level 1; if only I can get funding to provide books, venues and cover my own expenses. If anyone knows where I may enquire, please email me. Allow me to change a few peoples attitude and give them confidence!

  104. zameka ntetha says

    I have a big question? mark on the quality of teaching of educators in the lower grades

  105. Education has been a big concern for many years now, that is the reason why I few of us are busy on Early Childhood Development programs, also busy with a thesis to train mentors. Hoping that it will become available for the whole country. Still need a few translators for certain languages, have not got the all 11 yet. Currently working with local nursery schools , started this year and the progress has been phenomal and prooves that our thesis works. We feel to start at the age of 3 helps the children with self discipline, self motivation, self innovative with a good self image and courage to become useful citizens with a good purpose for all society

  106. themby shabangu says

    I think you have to get a coordinator and somebody who will design and develop your system.

  107. Everything starts with attitude if you stay in disgruntled mood and feel disadvantaged you
    will die like that and the people thinking like you. Stop believing the uneducated government ant their cronies they cannot help you they will only put you in a permanent state of begging and demanding, this scenario will eventually lead to economical imploding of South Africa and the few successful ones must be wary you will either be robbed or killed for what you have
    and than the country will be infiltrated by foreigners and people will become their slaves with no choice to prevent starvation


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