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Education crisis a matter of will: Ramphele

249 10.10.12 Dr Ramphele Mamphele at Marion on Nicol speaking about ther book tittled Conversation with my sons and daughters. Picture:Sharon Seretlo

249 10.10.12 Dr Ramphele Mamphele at Marion on Nicol speaking about ther book tittled Conversation with my sons and daughters. Picture:Sharon Seretlo

Published Jun 20, 2013

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Johannesburg - Solving South Africa's education problems, among others, requires political will which the current government does not have, Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after addressing the opening of African Education Week in Johannesburg, Ramphele said government had spent R230 billion on education and the country was not getting value for money.

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South Africa spent more on education per capita than any other country, while the education system continued to underperform.

Government was incapable and unwilling to take the political risk for change.

She said the R5bn to R6bn allocated to teacher training sector education and training authorities (Setas) should be scrapped as it was a waste of money.

“(Teaching) has to be on the job training,” she said.

“It's not a money problem, its a political will problem.”

Government's claim that the legacy of apartheid inhibited change within the education system was an excuse.

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“Twenty years is too long for anyone to say the legacy of another system is holding them back,” she said.

“ 1/8It's 3/8 simply an excuse which has now reached past its sell-by-date. It is not apartheid that said 30 percent is good enough to pass. It is not apartheid that said 40 percent is good enough to pass.”

She also questioned the tender system for textbooks, suggesting that textbooks should be bought directly, and more technology, such as tablets, should be brought into the classroom.

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At the moment however, the school system was broken.

“We are creating a twin society,” said Ramphele.

“We are generating poverty and inequality in our school system.”

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Agang would be launched as an official political party on Saturday.

While it was premature to talk about how many votes the party would receive, Ramphele said the ANC needed to be brought below 50 percent.

“What we say is we are aiming to change the political landscape of South Africa in 2014,” said Ramphele.

“South Africa can't afford... five more years of bungling. We are very serious about running a disciplined, focused, empathetic strategy.”

She said the entire campaign team were under the age of 45, with herself, 65, the current oldest member of the party.

Agang would only be interested in entering into a coalition with other political parties if they shared similar values.

“We will only go into coalition with those who share our basic values. If you agree the country must come first, then we can talk.”

Agang's upcoming campaign would focus on the youth, women and rural areas, though she encouraged all citizens to get involved.

The youth's potential was being undermined by patronage, women were experiencing more gender violence now then over the last 20 years, and rural people had been forgotten.

Ramphele had no thoughts on expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema forming his own political party, stating, “Agang is very focused on Agang.”

As the majority of South Africans were also young, it would make no sense for her party to form a youth wing.

Her party would pursue a zero-tolerance approach to corruption as the public were looking for integrity in their leaders.

“If you can mobilise citizens, you cannot fail,” she said. - Sapa

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