Thu Dec 08 07:57:55 SAST 2016

OBE's cost too high to calculate among SA's young people

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2010-07-07 23:03:29.03 Comments


The Times Editorial: Few South Africans will mourn the demise of the Outcomes-Based Education system forced on the nation's children more than a decade ago. At least a generation of young South Africans has been cannon fodder for an experiment in educational engineering.

Judging from utterances from the ANC and the government, no one should expect an apology or even an admission that South Africa's post-apartheid administration was driven by a far too impulsive desire to erase the bitterness of Christian National Education.

That four successive ministers were involved with an education system abandoned by the First World speaks of a certain arrogance to proceed without caution. Instead of opting for a slower pace of change and taking a long-term view of our country's skills and employment needs, they were driven by a political desire to cast aside the past.

Certainly, there will be no apology to the young man from Giyani or the young woman from Butterworth that they have been part of an experiment that failed abysmally.

Instead, the government and its education minister presented their new plans on Tuesday with a graceless refusal to acknowledge they have grossly underestimated the negative impact that OBE would have on this nation's children and teachers. But while a new system will replace OBE, there is a legacy that must be dealt with.

There will be confusion among teachers who have haplessly attempted to cope with the demands of OBE.

New systems cost money, and new textbooks and new resources will have to be allocated to public schools across South Africa.

Ultimately, though, the cost cannot be calculated in rand terms. How does one begin to calculate the cost of child's ruined future?

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OBE's cost too high to calculate among SA's young people

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