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Thread: The state of education in our schools

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    The state of education in our schools

    I see the matric pass rate is down , but the number of learners qualifying for tertiary education increased . There may be questions about OBE, as something new it would come as no surprise that it could at least do with some tweaking.

    But it really looks like the issue that most needs attention is the obvious inequalities in results/standards that keep on emerging.

    What is causing the problem? And how are they solved.
    The South African Teachers' Union (SAOU) expressed "dismay" at the decrease and the Professional Educators' Union (PEU) expressed "some measure of disappointment".

    "We believe that to maintain the momentum for increased access, we have to understand and address the factors which lead to drop out and failure," Sadtu president Thobile Ntola said in a statement.

    "Our sense is that issues of historical disadvantage and poverty associated with race, class and the rural-urban divide, and uneven support and poor management, especially in some districts and provinces, are crucial here, and we would expect the Department of Education to deepen its analysis in this respect," he said.
    full story from M&G here
    Vijay Reddy from the Human Sciences Research Council said the 2,7% drop in the matric pass rate to 62,5% was "very worrying because it means that 38%, or four out of ten, have failed".

    However Reddy said it was "admirable" that university entry passes increased by 4% for the first batch of matrics to have completed school under the much-contested outcomes-based education (OBE) system.

    Seen side by side, the two figures proved that the inequalities of the past persist because students from better resourced schools were better able to adapt to the OBE programme, Reddy said.

    "We are seeing that pupils who were doing well have improved and that those who were performing poorly have been further disadvantaged under the new system.

    "One of the aims of the new system was to level the playing fields but it will take more than one generation of outcomes-based education to achieve that."

    Milnerton High School headmaster Paul Besener agreed, saying the results of the first matrics to write the new national senior certificate confirmed expectations that most traditionally advantaged schools would adapt smoothly to the new curriculum.

    The Western Cape provincial education minister, Yousuf Gabru, said it was cause for concern that the number of schools with pass rates of less than 60% had suddenly increased by nearly 20% compared to 2007.

    "The results show that we still have a long way to go to ensure access to success in all schools."

    Brian O'Connell, the rector of the University of the Western Cape, said the 2008 matric results should not be blamed on historical inequalities but should serve as a warning of a crisis in the South African education system.

    "There is nothing surprising in the results. We have no right to expect them to be any different." he said.

    The problem, O'Connell said, was the political failure to build a post-apartheid culture of learning to make up for lost decades when education was a tug of war.

    "We should stop throwing around the resources thing and ask why we don't have a strong national culture of learning, instilled from the presidency downwards.

    "We have no leadership in schools and we have no quality control."
    full story from M&G here
    Those are some pretty divergent views already.

    One thing that struck me was a school featured on Morning Live this morning that had drastically improved their results despite serious resource shortages. There was a nervous passion amongst the educators about the results of their learners there that couldn't be missed.

    Maybe resources isn't the key issue here, although there is no denying adequate resources help. Supportive home conditions must also help, but I'd guess the home conditions of the learners at that shool probably didn't change that much over a year.

    Maybe making sure there is a passion for education in all the schools is the key.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Dave
    The attitudes of the department have to change.
    My daughter got 7 distinctions out of 8 subjects. Her motivation was 4 years ago her sister got 6 out of 6, 4 years ago, she had to do better. The other motivation is the school pays the matrics for each distinction they get.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Silver Member Loman's Avatar
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    First off, i have no idea what OBE is, nor do i greatly care.
    But why constantly change things when they should rather work on streamlining the whole thing?

    Teachers are under more and more stress as the discipline in schools are non existent(our local high school's attendance was 39% this year) the result - none passed. Teachers are also buried under a lot of paperwork that they fill in each day causing them to give less attention to the class and more to all the forms they have to fill in to keep the old fart on her throne happy.
    The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on. - Robert Bloch

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    OBE - outcomes based education.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    It is not widely known that educators are unable to "force" students to repeat a grade, even when they have failed! If a parent (or undisciplined student), puts themselves "up" there is nothing done to force them back into the failed standard. I heard this from two sources, one from a teacher at an "Exclusive" private school, and on a television or radio segment of a interview with a school principal where astudents "put themselves" up a grade. He was proud of his pass rate - which "included" those who had "put" themselves up a grade despite failing!
    A reduction in the pass rate is therefore guaranteed surely? or are the standards of the final assessment going to be adjusted to match the level of knowledge of the "Average" student!
    Yvonne

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I can see how that might be possible by arguing the fine print.

    Every module normally has defined assumed embedded knowledge in place, normally at two levels below the level of the module. That means you could skip a level, but you wouldn't be able to skip two in a row that way.

    I suggest to be used with caution, though. I've got this picture of holes in the wall. Perhaps not so critical near the top of the wall, but a far more serious issue if they're down at the foundation level.
    Last edited by Dave A; 10-Jan-09 at 09:47 PM. Reason: spelling
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Dave

    If I could be a fairy god mother to South Africa, I would wave my magic wand and make you - Dictator of Education.

    As this is what is needed, plain common sense!

    Recently a candidate attending one of our training courses was telling my husband how angry he was with the youth in his neighbourhood, strolling late to school, socialising rather than getting to classes, completely disrespectful when asked why they did not hurry! and their general attitude towards schooling.
    He felt the present situation was completely devalueing his own matric, and how hard he had himself had worked to achieve his own results!

    My husband replied that he understood, and that he was "blown away" at the education ministers statements. (Don't need a matric!)

    The youngster replied - you should not be blown away - "WE" should be gone away!

    This was a young very successful executive, who had overcome all his disadvantages, but felt the present education system was going to adversly affect his own future as well.

    Yvonne

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    Dave,

    Darn, I am dissapointed that you did not respond to my suggestion.

    You seem to be the only person who has a genuine grasp of the outcomes based education, who can perhaps understand the advantages, therefore your opinion is well balanced.
    I genuinely believe this is what is needed! Leadership with plain common sense!

    That will never happen in our democracy, and it would have to be a dictatorship of standards to succeed.

    I may be exaggerating, but I see it is a matter of national security for our future economy.

    We are producing matriculants with unrealsitic expectations, both in their expectation of success in further education, as well as in owning their own businesses!

    But perhaps this is a universal problem?

    Yvonne

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yvonne View Post
    You seem to be the only person who has a genuine grasp of the outcomes based education, who can perhaps understand the advantages, therefore your opinion is well balanced.
    Far from it, Yvonne. There are plenty of people who not only understand it far better than I do, they are also actively working on improving the system. There's just got a lot of inertia to overcome. Some people have a vested interest in continuing the bureaucratic nightmare.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    If I tell you that the examining body, the system, the school, the invigilators, whoever the hell it was (as no one takes responsibility) have simply " lost " 4 of my childs matric examination papers, would anyone believe me?
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    Debbie
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