Edjukashun ees wot, wun kan tel,
Wil teech peepil hau thay shud spel,
Bit, frum resint sampuls
Wun seez az egzampuls,
Eat jest izint dun vary wel!

    For the side view theme of EDUCATION, I have an observation relating to a recent speech by researcher Nic Spaull in which he stated that SA school performance 1996 to 2011 rates an F.   He blames high absenteeism and low subject knowledge among teachers, as well as the failure of pupils to acquire the most basic literacy and numeracy skills. The second part sounds a bit silly. How do pupils acquire such skills from unskilled teachers? That is hardly the pupils’ failure.

   He claims, however, that ‘the post-apartheid government inherited a divided and mostly dysfunctional education system’. 

   This, I dispute. I came into contact with a number of black schools before and after that time, and found them to be well-run, efficient, and motivated. They did a remarkable job of overcoming the handicaps of overcrowding/culture/home life/language medium with which the majority of black scholars had to contend.

  Elder Daughter was one of the highly qualified (Master’s Degree) whites teaching in black schools through most of the 1990s, first in a ‘township’ type, and then in a so-called ‘farm’ school. She was passionate about what she was doing, and achieved remarkable results.  

  Then BEE began to be implemented to an ever-increasing and idiotic extent, and some highly unsuitable people were drafted in while the really experienced staff became sidelined. Finally, dedication and enthusiasm were not enough, and the family moved to UK where a distinguished school has the benefit of her expertise. A similar pattern applied to my son-in-law, a professional in hospital services.

   On the education side, however, if only those in power had kept the common sense to rise above idealism. Even if in nothing else, they should have retained within the teaching profession the best ones for the jobs regardless of race, colour or creed. Excellence breeds excellence, and we would by now have had the products of such educations, equipped to pass on the same standards.

   As it is, the whole pattern of competence is showing a steady decline. Adjusting marks to a ‘mean’ is simply wearing blindfolds, and it should be faced that many or most black school leavers are now at a far lower level of actual knowledge and ability than their (admittedly too few) counterparts during the apartheid era. 

   Even now, it is not too late to encourage back the more qualified and suitable people to carry forward this vital responsibility – out of retirement, back from countries they emigrated to with great regret and reluctance, or away from less vital sectors.

   Sadly, this would require a level of mature thinking which is seldom, if ever, displayed by the current regime.



  And, to close with, our contribution to education over the weekend – educating indigenous plant enthusiasts about show gardens. This is a shot of the stand while I was setting it up.


© Colonialist August 2012 (WordPress/Letterdash)


About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Challenge, Education, Gardens and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Pingback: Weekend Theme: Education | One Change a Day

  2. Lisaman says:

    I did some training of teachers within the FET college system and they definitely had really low subject matter expertise…arrived at the training late, left early everyday of the 5 day workshops and all quite sad really!


  3. Desire says:

    Our Government could only benefit from some time spent with you! If only they all realised they still have so much to LEARN!


  4. LOL! Good post, fun limerick.


  5. nrhatch says:

    Our education system needs revamping too, Col.


  6. adinparadise says:

    It’s definitely a no win situation, Col. I despair of then ever getting it right. How can you expect teachers who are ill-trained and non too literate themselves to teach children? Ludicrous. Where have all the teacher training colleges disappeared to?


  7. 68ghia says:

    Everything these days are more about the quantity of colours in the people working, than in the quality of the work being done – that would be why we’ve seen a decline in so many of the services offered by so many companies.


  8. SidevieW says:

    Until we have a consolidated educated leadership, we will be at the whims of those who believe, because they have succeeded in politics without an education, that no-one really need an education.


  9. newsferret says:

    I wonder how long before we start blaming “liberation” for our woes.


You have the right to remain silent - but please don't!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s