Basic education in SA is 'firmly on the rise': Angie Motshekga

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said that SA is 'slowly and surely reclaiming its place among the economies and countries of our similar size and budget'.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said that SA is 'slowly and surely reclaiming its place among the economies and countries of our similar size and budget'.
Image: 123rf.com/Graham Oliver

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said in her keynote address on Tuesday that she believes SA's basic education system is "firmly on the rise".

"Today, I am not going to stand here and say it's time to pop the champagne because our basic education is slowly and surely reclaiming its place among the economies and countries of our similar size and budget," said Motshekga.

"All I am saying is that our basic education as a system is a system on the rise," Motshekga said.

"On some occasions when we reported results of some international studies these have been greeted with disbelief and despair during the times when our learners' outcomes were below par. Indeed if such happens, despair is understandable. I am glad to say that today, we are not adding to your burden or negative vibes."

Motshekga said this after the 2018 OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (Talis) was released on Tuesday

SA was one of 48 countries which took part in the study. It was the first time the country took part and it involved 2,046 teachers and 169 school principals.

The survey found that in SA:

  • Teaching was the first career choice for 49% of teachers, the lowest among all countries surveyed;
  • 97% said they became teachers to influence children's development or contribute to society;
  • The average teacher was 43 years old. The overall average was 44 years old;
  • 32% of teachers were aged 50 or older which meant that SA would have to replace one in three teachers over the next decade;
  • Principals were on average 51 years old;
  • About 22% of school principals were female;
  • 60% of teachers were female;
  • 85% of teachers agreed they got along well with their pupils;
  • Principals reported "significant material resource shortages" hindering teaching such as library materials (70%) and technology (65%);
  • Pupils had diverse linguistic backgrounds with six out of 10 teachers working in schools where more than 10% of learners were not being educated in their mother tongue;
  • More than eight in 10 teachers said they often had to calm down pupils versus the 65% average;
  • Teachers spent only two-thirds of their time teaching which was lower than the 78% average; and
  • Less than one in four teachers had no tertiary education.

The report said: "Actual teaching and learning time is lower in schools with high concentrations of students from socio-economically disadvantaged homes compared to schools with low concentrations.

"In SA, the difference amounts to six percentage points the equivalent of more than three minutes of actual teaching and learning per hour."

The OECD's Noémie Le Donné said: "It's a signal that SA probably ranks among the poorest countries, but it can also be the case that there is high social segregation with these students concentrated in some of the schools. But still 70% of teachers work in schools with at least 30% of students that qualify as relatively poor."


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