WE ARE in far worse trouble than we thought.
This is the only logical conclusion after the Basic Education acting director-general's astounding news that "basic education faces a crisis".
Bobby Soobrayan says only 35 percent of primary school pupils are numerate and many of these drop out before Grade 9.
It is clear that the Department of Education has taken the wrong tack somewhere.
Apparently those who instruct our teachers fail to do so. It seems the rot starts at the top of the education food chain.
Teachers are poorly equipped , have a low morale and are disinclined to fulfil their duties.
It is pointless to fix everything that besets our education system if the movers are themselves woefully ill-quipped to disseminate knowledge.
The Education Department has a myriad problems. Politicians and civil servants have spent a lot of money and time trying to fix them. They have not succeeded, partly because they react to one crisis at a time.
But until we learn from the Afrikaners the black child is forever doomed to illiteracy.
Afrikaners insist, and the government allows it, that their children be educated in their mother tongue.
As an eminent professor in Zululand has pointed out: it would take only a few years to produce excellent matrics in townships if they were taught in their mother tongue.
They do it in Spain, Britain, Germany, China and everywhere else, for God's sake. Why not for the black African child?