Give education system extreme makeover

Minister Naledi Pandor's frank criticisms about unacceptable standards of teaching, attendance, time, tasks, literacy and numeracy are very responsible and grown up.

Minister Naledi Pandor's frank criticisms about unacceptable standards of teaching, attendance, time, tasks, literacy and numeracy are very responsible and grown up.

I admire the minister's stance. Her sense of reality is welcome, but how will she persuade Cabinet to give provinces and schools more resources?

How will she counter the power of the teacher unions when it comes to dismissing or redeploying teachers who perform poorly? How will Pandor and the Cabinet meet salary demands?

I propose a back-to-basics campaign to ensure basic literacy and numeracy standards are raised. Every teacher, no matter what subject he or she teaches, should write five new words for pupils to learn on the board everyday.

All principals and their deputies must have a certificate in school management and leadership.

Salary increments and assessments must be in line with performance. Standards for admitting teacher trainees to colleges, their knowledge, literacy and numeracy levels must be strictly monitored.

But the recruitment and retention of quality teachers will depend on the profession being made attractive.

The shortage of skills in education and in the economy as a whole will persist unless salaries are improved substantially.

David Quail, MPL Gauteng

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