Trevor Manuel's recent comment that education in South Africa is a bad investment has never been more appropriate.
Listening to Penny Vinjevold of the Education Department doing an egg dance on SAfm this week, I was amused at how badly informed the top brass are about the real situation.
During recent Science events countrywide, I was struck by the drop in standards in Grade 12. Testing one school's alertness, I asked what 8 x 7 was. Nobody knew, not even the teacher present. Asking the next class to give me the name of any acid they could think of, the best answer they had was "Eno". God help us!! These kids are now writing their final exams.
The great tragedy is that these kids were all incredibly eager to learn, but had clearly been let down by the system. In fact, the teachers' strike had no effect - the rot was so far gone that the three-week lull could hardly have made matters worse.
The Department of Education's much trumpeted catch-up programme could never make up for the foolishness of Outcomes-Based Education or the years of neglect.
The good news is that even though the Science and Maths papers are now far more difficult, and even though these pupils have all been passed up automatically from Grade 1, they will still manage to pass the final examination.
I will leave it to your imagination to figure that out.
Eddie Jansen, Moreleta Park