The available courses will not prepare students for the new era

Poor choice of subjects at public schools

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Amid all the hoopla regarding the latest matric results and the magnificent performance of the department of education, and the students as well, I have looked at the subject matter which high school students had to choose from in order to matriculate.

It is frightening when you look at the requirements and options students in the public sector have available to them.

A quick analysis of the various subjects available shows that of the approximately 117 courses from which a student can choose, 64% or 75 are languages! And 16% or 19 courses are technical courses, including such things as agricultural tech, computers and civil technology, etc.

In arts courses there are seven, or about 5% of the total available. These courses include drama, art, and music, etc.

In miscellaneous disciplines, which include such studies as life orientation, information tech, equine studies and sport exercise science, there are 11 courses, about 9% of the total.

Now the frightening part, which is a true reflection of the total failure of our department of education: at the very heart of an education system which must educate pupils for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are truly at the bottom of the ladder by world standards. The core subjects which we must get into every learner's head by high school graduation – geography, history, life sciences, mathematics, and physical science – make up just five subjects, or 4% of the available curriculum.

And we jump for joy at the results. This is a disgrace and it is little wonder that SA is where it is. We are ranked at the bottom of just about every rating of literacy, numeracy, scientific aptitude, and ability to function in the new technical, scientific, and electronic era.

Factor in the percentage of students who graduate from high school as a function of the number of students entering the schooling system, which is just over 40%, and you can see the seeds of our destruction.

We can only blame the ANC government for this disastrous situation.

This calls for a radical change in our educational system.

Dr Peter C Baker, Parktown North, Johannesburg

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