By Koketso Marishane
The recent release of the 2018 Matric results on 4 January 2019 has been a culmination of a challenging academic period in the South African education sector. This is so because it’s characterised mostly by issues of ill-discipline, disruption of teaching and learning, and in some cases learners stabbing teachers to death in schools.
2018 primarily highlighted the daunting challenges faced by education in South Africa, and unfortunately this does not mirror a positive picture about the future of education in the country.
Beside these daunting challenges, there is a need to commend pupils who remained disciplined, focused and excelled under such circumstances. We must also commend the educators who did their best in ensuring that learners were ready for examinations even if it meant working 7 days a week.
Inversely so, the Department of Basic Education needs to revisit the issue of post allocation to schools. Former Model C schools are able to appoint extra staff using the School Governing Bodies (SGB) funds. Consequently, they are able to deal with reduced loads in classrooms. Township and rural schools do not enjoy such luxury due to inadequate resources.
The 2018 results for private school candidates, those who sat for the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) certificate have been released earlier than those from the public schooling system with a pass rate of 98.92%, an improvement from the 98.76% achieved in the previous year. This is likely to worsen the anxiety among the thousands who are still to wait a bit longer for their results. But that is the price you pay for allowing parallel education streams that are differently resourced.
Nonetheless, South Africans must remain hopeful that the results will continue to improve, because negative results will signal that people of colour will resort to joblessness, poverty and crime as an escape route.
With respect to funding to access higher education, the authorities must apologise to the masses for selling an essential transformative weapon to the highest bidder. Yes, fees must fall. We however remain optimistic that government will prioritise assistance to all the learners who qualify for higher learning admission.
DHET also needs to avail possible resources to assist schools in dealing with pupils who’ve under-performed, thus providing intervention to prepare learners for supplementary examinations, and also help those who could not write all the subjects to qualify for certification.
We hope schools will be stabilised this year to ensure no disruption and focus more purposeful teaching and learning. The government needs to be more decisive in the appointment of school managers to ensure that qualified people are appointed in positions of responsibility so that we can have effective schooling. It is high time that the DoE takes responsibility by ensuring that poor marginalised communities are not forgotten and disadvantaged by corrupt individuals who view the teaching profession as an opportunity for self-enrichment.
Koketso Marishane writes as a concerned citizen.