Education a national priority

The announcement of the 2010 matric results by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga today has indicated an improvement on 2009’s performance, with the Minister describing the results as a “remarkable achievement”.

South African’s support for the Class of 2010 has been phenomenal and these positive results are indicative of the communities’ spirit of Ubuntu. People opened up their homes to learners, retired teachers gave of their time, businesses offered resources and non-profit organisations facilitated opportunities for learner support.

The teachers’ strike, following the suspension of teaching during the 2010 World Cup, with slightly less schooling time, undoubtedly had an effect on results. The Minister admits that it was possible that the public sector dispute might have robbed the department of its targeted 70% pass rate.

“On a global level, the South Africa education system performs poorly compared to those in countries at a similar stage of development, such as Brazil, Russia, Argentina and Mexico. It is particularly worrying that the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF) places South Africa in the bottom two performing countries with regard to the quality of maths and science education”, Matola points out.  

The importance of education was underlined last year at the WEF annual meeting which held a session specifically focusing on this issue. In its summary, it states that the many problems that plague the world, from poverty to global security, could be solved by better access to quality education.

What is needed, says the WEF, is a partnership between the public and private sectors to develop a new vision for education that will meet the needs of the ever-changing job market. To this end, Brand South Africa and the Department of Basic Education hosted a special session with private sector companies at the end of November 2010 to magnify the need for an integrated approach to educational delivery.  

Matola continues, “Brand South Africa recognises this and is driving a call to make education a societal issue. This joint ownership of education is in the spirit, too, of Ubuntu – one of collective support and engagement beyond the bounds of family, friends and colleagues to a broader society”.

The matric results, achieved under difficult conditions, re-affirm that South Africans, as always, are able to find creative solutions”, concludes Matola.

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