Dear President Ramaphosa... we need more action on education

22 February 2018 - 11:12
President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: MIKE HUTCHINGS / AFP

Dear President Ramaphosa,

Like millions of South Africans I am hopeful again about the future of your country – in part because you essentially fired the corrupt and incompetent Jacob Zuma and in part because your state of the nation address seemed to promise exactly the opposite. Your choice of cabinet members will be the first test of your commitment to those lofty words that had even the opposition teary-eyed. Send me.

Naturally, I was very eager to hear what you would say about the education crisis. In fairness, you did not have enough time to come up with bold ideas and effective plans to turn around schools and stop the decline of our universities. So you relied on what different departments hastily forwarded to your speech writers for a cut-and-paste exercise.

Even so, I felt you should at least have had enough knowledge to see through empty words and outright deception. It is absolutely meaningless to say there are a million children in preschool education. What you need to know is that a few have access to high-quality early childhood education and the majority are stuck in low-quality places of care. The result is that the achievement gap is significant by the time children enter Grade 1 and it does not close over the 12 years of schooling.

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