Sat Oct 22 13:59:27 CAT 2016

Schools will surprise Zuma more

By Senzeni Mlotshwa | Aug 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WE WERE all pleasantly surprised by the news from the Presidency.

WE WERE all pleasantly surprised by the news from the Presidency.

It appears as though our honourable President Jacob Zuma is dead set on surprising us teachers with unsolicited visits to our classrooms. We are all eagerly waiting for Msholozi.

There are many problems that need urgent attention besides teachers taking a half day on pay day and starting their weekends earlier.

Firstly, there needs to be drastic changes to the curriculum, especially in the first three years of education.

During the last 10 years the government has not shied away from leaving teachers stunned with the numerous revisions it has made.

Last year in a nationwide survey, only 36percent of Grade 3 pupils were found to be able to read and write properly.

These pupils will sink further into the quagmire of the curriculum.

By the time they reach high school many of them will barely cope with the responsibilities of high school material.

I am constantly accosted by desperate parents of young children with complaints that their children are becoming more confused as they climb the school ladder.

We are not surprised as teachers.

This is the result of an exceptionally poor curriculum in the foundation phase. Not because of teachers who take liberties every now and then.

High schools are not the place to teach pupils how to read or write. They should come with that knowledge from the primary schools.

Then there are constant problems of under-funding, poor service delivery by the government and failure to attract new teachers.

The president can barely blame the teachers for the poor performance of the Ministry of Education.

Many schools are still without adequate libraries or Internet facilities, let alone sufficient textbooks.

The government is legendary in failing to deliver the necessary stock on time. The government shot itself in the foot by closing teacher training colleges.

There are not enough young students going into education.

The conditions of employment are laughable, the remuneration appalling and exploitative.

Every week teachers leave the system, citing confusion over what they are expected to do.

We hope that Msholozi is not only coming to police our comings and goings but to also view the damage the Department of Eeducation has done and is continuing to do in the public school systems.

This new surprising policing by the highest office is just an intimidation ploy, right when teachers are fighting for remuneration that is rightfully owed to them.

The government does not want to improve the conditions of employment, yet they see the gaping hole in the human resource department. The teacher unions are not bullies but rather neglected stakeholders who are never given the benefit of decent consultation by the government.

He needs to take stock of what has gone amiss in order for the situation in education to come to this point of great conflict. The president will be more surprised than the teachers he wants to catch unaware.

Public schools are ready for you, Mr President!

lThe writer is a FET College lecturer in Johannesburg


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