[lg policy] State schools stunting children's development, says shocking new report

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed May 23 15:12:58 EDT 2018


 State schools stunting children's development, says shocking new report

Politics <https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics> / 22 May 2018, 6:58pm / *Lindi
Masinga*

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Johannesburg - The South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) said on
Tuesday that a report of theirs exposed the extent to which the State-run
school system was stunting the development of South Africa’s children,
especially black pupils.

The IRR said the report, titled "Parents, not politicians, must run South
Africa’s schools" was the first edition of FreeFACTS that they complied.
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"The report argues that the bulk of our state schools ‘are not in the main
inferior because of a shortage of money. Many emerging markets spend less
on education than South Africa, but produce much better results," the IRR
said.

"In South Africa’s case, however, ‘corruption, destructive trade unions,
ideological dogma, and incompetent bureaucrats and politicians are
responsible for the fact that only a small majority of children will be
well educated’."

The institute said their research showed that ‘when communities control
schools, results improve’, they said the report marked the case for a
constructive alternative, suggesting that ‘a shortcut to much better
education is to get bureaucrats out and let parents take over’.

"The data in this report shows, among other things, that only 33 percent of
matric candidates ‘passed’ maths with a grade of 40 percent or higher, that
just 29.2 percent of schools have a library, that only 18.3 percent of
government schools have a science laboratory, and that only 13 percent of
the 2006 grade-1 class managed a university entry qualification when they
wrote matric in 2017," author of the report, IRR Campaign Manager Marius
Roodt said.

"This may be the future of your child if you don’t find an alternative
outside of the government school system – but few people can afford private
schools."

The report noted, however, that alternative approaches capable of achieving
the ‘short cut’ to better education outcomes were feasible.

The IRR said schools should be sold to community groups, churches,
non-profit organisations, and private education providers for a nominal fee
and let them run such schools within agreed guidelines.

"We estimate that these vouchers will be sufficient to finance high-quality
education for every child in the country. Parents can redeem these vouchers
at any school of their choosing and top up the voucher with their own funds
in the event that the school charges higher fees," Roodt said.

"By giving parents the choice and buying power to decide on the education
of their children they then have the power to control the curriculum,
language policy, and ethos of the school they send their children to... It
is not for the government and politicians to decide how to raise your
child. That is for you to decide."

The IRR said this edition of FreeFACTS coincided with the launch of the
IRR’s Education Charter, which was an initiative to give South Africans the
opportunity to endorse greater parental involvement in schools as a first
step to rescuing the education system from the grave crisis it was in.

"It will urge them all to heed growing public anxiety about the state of
education in South Africa, and to implement policies that give parents the
greater control and influence over schools which, universally, have led to
better results in the classroom," the institute said.

*African News Agency/ANA*


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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