So, front page of The Star, 29 June 2011 - Headlines read:-
Many of our kids can't read or write!
Following on dismal matric results over the past few years, some intelligent person stated that the reason for this is poor education at primary level. Of course no one would believe this, but they did do a national test on Grade 3 and 6 pupils, at government schools, and found that in fact, most of these pupils cannot read or write, arithmetic is a non-entity! And for most of those who could "read" that had no comprehension of what they were reading - basically mouthing words based on recognition of the letters!!!
And they are surprised! Why? We have been under the new regime since 1994. That's 17 years. Most of the kids writing matric this year were bone under the new regime. So, they can't blame apartheid education for the dismal performance - although I am sure they will. They will claim that the system could not be fixed over night. OK, I'll buy that. But then, the kids in grade 3 started school 3 years ago, 14 years after the so called first democratic elections, and those in grade 6, 11 years after the so called FDE!
Apart from the fact that they have tried various forms of schooling (most of which failed elsewhere in the world before we tried them) and kept changing policy and process on an ongoing basis, apart from the fact that most of the teachers (especially in the rural schools) are under qualified, what other excuses can they have?
The basis of all of the above failures is, as far as I am concerned, the lack of respect for the school function from the parents down to the pupils. The fact that teachers will strike at the most critical times of the schooling year for better salaries, and that many of them only go to the school so as to qualify to collect their pay packets at the end of the month. Half of those morons would struggle to man a toll booth, never mind teach kids! I was "served" by a PDI yesterday in a shop in Pretoria. This young lady (probably around 18 - 20 years old) had no idea what she was doing. i don't care if you are new at your job. If you ring up 2 x pies, (at R12.50 each) and the till shows a grand total of R12.50, don't argue with the client that it must be right, it's fucking wrong. And when you looking for the bar code on the bottle of milk so as to scan it - it's that funny block filled with lots of little lines, why did you have to rotate the bottle 4 times (right around - 4 x 360 deg revolutions) in front of the scanner hoping it would find the bar code you obviously could not!!!
This person is definitely a product of the new regime education system, and is, in my humble opinion, unemployable! In fact, she would struggle to work in our home as a domestic - the Princess would never get past day 1 with her around!!!
So, back to the primary school kids. This tested generation then, is, for all intents and purposes, another "lost generation"! There is no way that the grade 6 kids can be brought up to speed now, they barely have 6 years left at school, and are now going into the geography, History, Mathematics, Physics domains - these teachers have not got the time to teach them to read, write, and do basic maths!
The grade 3 kids, if held back for a year, and given special catch up tutoring, might have a chance. I am willing to bet that most of the kids who did in fact pass the test will come from mainly White and Indian homes. Reason:- Cause those parents care, they try to assist, make sure the kids go to school regularly, do their homework, AND - most of all - have respect for their teachers.
And therein lies the fundamental problem with our country. There is no respect. Kids don't have self respect, have no respect for their parents, peers, or teachers! If there is no respect, you don't take them seriously, so don't learn anything - and become another Julius Malema - come to think of it, we might have a generation of potential politicians in the making!!!!