It is unfair to compare private schools with public schools, says Motshekga
It is unfair to compare private schools with public schools, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Friday.
“We have 12 million kids in the system and running 24,000 schools. We run a very vibrant and strong system. We can’t be compared to private schools; it is like comparing an elephant to a springbok.”
Motshekga on Friday told KwaZulu-Natal to go back to basics.
“If we get the basics right we eliminate the majority of our problems,” said Motshekga.
The minister was speaking at the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s Education Indaba at Sibaya Casino where several stakeholders gathered to address the province’s poor education performance.
KwaZulu-Natal received a 60.7% pass rate in the 2015 matric year. The Umzinyathi and the iLembe District recorded the lowest pass rate.
A Statistics South Africa report presented at the indaba attributed the poor performance to a lack of textbooks, poor quality and a lack of teachers as well as poor infrastructure.
Motshekga said while KwaZulu-Natal was not the biggest province in terms of population, the province had the highest number of school going children.
"KZN is an important province and the pillar of the nation so we have to make sure that we get things right.”
The minister said she often received advice from ordinary South Africans including cleaners and air hostesses.
“They ask me why we don’t put the right teacher in the right class and why don’t we make sure that learners are always on time. This means that we are not doing the obvious, because these are obvious things.”
Motshekga said if teachers, learners and parents received the necessary support, half of the problems would be resolved.
She said she was hopeful that KwaZulu-Natal would be able to change things around.
The minister announced that she would be releasing a report on the selling of posts which will reveal that KwaZulu-Natal was among the provinces where this was taking place.
She said the report would also include an investigation into copying.
Motshekga said passing Grade 12 began in Grade 1.
“The foundation of the house determines the shape of the house and that is Grade 1. Every phase is very important, it is too late in Grade 12. How well you do in Grade 12 is determined by the first five years of schooling,” said Motshekga.
She quipped that she spoke “English like another aunty” because she did not get the basics right in the first five years of her schooling career.
“The future of this country lies in this province because this is where most learners are and that is why we have to get KZN right,” she said.
Premier Senzo Mchunu said results in the province had to improve.
“We must all mobilise for the agreed set of basic non-negotiables which are that teachers must be on time and learners must be in class and on time learning and respecting the teacher.”
Mchunu said KwaZulu-Natal should use the 60.7% as a bench mark to improve.
“We must not focus on the facts that led to the decline but look at how we improve our performance,” he said.
He called on parents, teachers and unions to place the interests of the pupils first.
KwaZulu-Natal education MEC Peggy Nkonyenyi said the province would work harder to improve the matric results.