Every learner starts their school careers with stars in their eyes and dreams as big as skyscrapers, blissfully unaware that their fate rests in the hands of quality educators and their foundation and tone that is set in the classroom.
When we look at the real matric pass rate over the past few years, the actual number only sits just slightly above 50% which is rather shocking when we see numbers like a 70% and over pass rate that is released. This is according to the Equal Education (EE) stats. The number of learners that don’t finish school is alarmingly high!
It has been reported that principals and teachers actually hold learners back when they come to the end of their Grade 11 year. A motivational speech is given as to why the decision was made and they are encouraged to take ‘easier’ subjects so that it is ensured that the pass rate looks a lot healthier the next year.
It is very evident that quality teaching is of the utmost importance from the word go! The EE released the following statement:”Foundation-phase teachers must be capacitated (through pre-service and in-service training); must be supported by government education officials, parents and the broader public; must be well-remunerated; and must teach in environments that are dignified, safe, and well-resourced.” You would think that this goes completely without saying.
It is vital that the Department of Education do the following:
- Partially/fully fund integrated professional development systems that will have a significant impact on quality, and improve compensation. Professional development is key before a teaching career commences and continued in-service training.
- Increase the accessibility of higher education, including improved recognition of credit-bearing opportunities, alignment across two- and four-year institutions, and expansion of non-traditional courses.
- Support grant programs to provide scholarships, increase compensation and improve retention of early childhood providers with credentials from accredited institutions.
This is a very small price to pay, considering that most learners will go unemployed indefinitely if they drop out of school or don’t receive the quality education that they deserve!
It is always about the bigger picture… How can we have a healthy and thriving economy for years to come, if the leaders of tomorrow don’t have the foundation they need to build on?