Activists marched to the department of basic education to hand over a memorandum to the minister of education, demanding she lift the passing rate of 30% and overhaul the education system.
One South Africa’s (OSA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, said apartheid gave many people in the country an education system that confined then to unemployability and low labour absorption. On Friday, Maimane handed over a memorandum destined for the minister, Angie Motshekga, detailing OSA’s “Education Rescue Plan”.
“In South Africa today, two out of 10 pupils drop out of school after Grade 3, four out of 10 after Grade 9, six out of 10 after Grade 10, and more than 7 out of 10 drop out after Grade 11. This statistic alone illustrates the rank failure
of our basic education system and the desperate need for reform,” Maimane said.
He said the reigning problem was created during the country’s painful past by the system of Bantu Education.
“But the problem is sustained by our country’s current approach.
“With an annual cheque of more than R280 billion, the basic education department boasts one of the largest line items in the budget.
“Despite this, the quality of education afforded to the vast majority of our children is substandard,” he said.
Maimane said the issues include lack of resources and infrastructure, low standards, pit toilets, crowded classrooms and unaccountable teachers.
“We propose 10 interventions that, if implemented immediately, would rescue South Africa’s education system and provide a stable foundation for progressive development in the coming years,” Maimane said.
The 10 interventions included lifting the 30% pass mark for subjects; an independent education ombudsman; raised salaries for educators; and curtailed union power; as well as replacing Life Orientation as a subject with mandatory skills subjects.
Maimane also called for incentivising students during the academic year; prioritising the primary phase of education; extended programmes for underperforming pupils; and reprioritising the budget for digital learning and infrastructure. He has criticised the education department for the lack of security at schools and said a nationwide teacher skills conduct audit was needed.
Mathimba Mabunda was passing by when she saw the march and took the opportunity to tell Maimane about her struggles to get employment after matriculating in 2015. Mabunda said despite completing her studies in dramatic arts in 2019, she was still unemployed.
The Democratic Alliance’s shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, said more schools of specialisation were
needed, with proper facilities such as science laboratories.