Government has failed black school children

Businesses everywhere are saying they cannot find skilled people.

Businesses everywhere are saying they cannot find skilled people.

Yet the Commission for Employment Equity chairman, Jimmy Manyi, claimed South Africa's skills shortage is an "urban legend", and that there are plenty of black South Africans whose skills are under-utilised.

The reality is the ANC government has largely failed to transform a situation where most white children finish school with an education, which can open doors all around the world, whereas black children frequently leave school barely literate.

The ANC sidestepped hard decisions that would have created quality education for all. In particular, it turned a blind eye to incapable and unwilling teachers, and failed to provide adequate support for good ones. Many teacher training colleges were closed and there is still not enough work being done to attract matriculants to teaching.

Knowledge on paper often bears no relation to actual skills because children go through the system whether or not they meet standards.

The DA welcomes the government's belated plans to reward teachers who deliver. Though many years late, it will at last begin moving education in the right direction. That is, if the government is able to withstand the union opposition we see manifested in this week's national strike.

George Boinamo, DA spokesman on education, Cape Town