Utopian South African Education System
The goal of this essay is to write up a utopian education system for South Africa. In doing so this paper will attempt to explain what the authors’ definition of an education system and the difficulties facing the South African education system. The author will also explain his utopian thinking of solutions and/or turnaround strategies. An education system is a national system run by the government, paid for by tax payers to educate the children of the given country. Education means to teach the children of the country skills, social conventions and literacy pertaining to that specific country. By applying these three concepts, the education system of a country attempts to make better citizens out of the youth and make them valuable contributors to society. A better educated society leads to people living a better life in terms of prosperity, better governance and a better democracy, where all citizens can make effective and efficient choices about the government that runs the country. It is no secret that the current education system in South Africa is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand there is the haves (the traditional Model C schools) and the have not’s (the former DET schools). The South African education system is failing to make the grade according to certain key indicators. It is reported that South African learners score poorly in reading, maths and science literacy. South Africa is constantly placed in the bottom six in the world and is one of the worst performing countries in Africa. The disparity however lies in the fact that in a 2001 study 65% of learners from former model C schools saw appropriate 6th grade scores, whereas in former DET schools only 0.1% scored the appropriate marks for 6th grade maths, science and reading (Bloch, 2007). In South Africa almost 50% of learners that start grade 1 never finish grade 12 (Bloch, 2007). The current education system lets learners down in that the system brings learners hopes and dreams to a halt instead of encouraging them to reach their full potential. Many township schools have been described as sinkholes where children are ‘warehoused’, instead of being educated. In saying all this, the biggest thing that summarizes the current education problem is quality. This lack of quality education disadvantages the already disadvantaged learners in that these learners can’t access tertiary education institutions enabling them to pursuit a better life (Bloch, 2007). It is the opinion of this author that the majority of these quality issues arrived due to bureaucratic measures that leaves the teacher out in the cold and causes teachers to do more paperwork than actually preparing classes and bettering themselves as teachers. There is very little micro-level input from teachers, frustrating teachers and in a way causing the teachers to feel like outsiders in the very system that they want to help improve. The current outcomes based education (OBE) is not suited to South Africa as it is a very resource and skill intensive curriculum that negatively affects the education system and the learners that it is suppose to be helping. The problem with OBE is that the resources and skills necessary to make it successful are only limited to very good teachers and schools that have the resources to make OBE successful, resources such as computers, internet and learners that can buy supplies necessary for various school projects. All of the above mentioned skills and resources are thus located in a small amount if schools and only serves a small portion of the population, namely the middle class and the upper class. The rest of the learners in township schools are thus at a significant disadvantage in terms of learning and bettering their lives in the present school system. With this lack of resources and skills, poor infrastructure is also present. There are many schools in South Africa with inadequate or broken...
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