[lg policy] Parents, not politicians, must run schools, says IRR

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu May 24 11:00:52 EDT 2018

- Parents, not politicians, must run schools, says IRR

   - South Africa
   - Wednesday 23 May 2018 - 7:41am

File: The Institute for Race Relations has found that 'when communities
control schools, results improve'. Photo: eNCA/ Khayelihle Khumalo‏

JOHANNESBURG - Most government schools are inferior not because of a
shortage of money but due to corruption, ideological dogma and incompetent
bureaucrats, says the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

Its report "Parents, not politicians, must run South Africa’s schools"
shows the extent to which the government school system stunts the
development of children, especially black pupils.

"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 on Tuesday.

"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 its research showed that "when communities control
schools, results improve'.

*READ: The success of government schooling is all in the numbers

"A shortcut to much better education is to get bureaucrats out and let
parents take over."

The author of the report, IRR campaign manager Marius Roodt, said the data
in the report showed that only 33 percent of matric candidates ‘passed’
maths with a grade of 40 percent or higher.

It also showed 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.

"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," Roodt said.

The report noted, however, that alternative approaches were feasible.

Schools should be sold to community groups, churches, non-profit
organisations and private education providers for a nominal fee, said the

"We estimate that 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."

 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

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