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Government failing in education - Ramphele

260 10.10.12 Dr Mamphele Ramphele at the Marion on Nicol Hotel. Picture:Sharon Seretlo

260 10.10.12 Dr Mamphele Ramphele at the Marion on Nicol Hotel. Picture:Sharon Seretlo

Published Jun 20, 2013


Johannesburg - Government has failed South Africa's youth through corrupt and inept management of the education system, Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Thursday.

“At national government level, education is not given due priority,” she said in a speech at the opening of African Education Week in Johannesburg.

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“We are failing too many young people of our continent... Education departments are often led by the weakest ministers, need I point to SA?”

As a result the country was suffering from the impact of the education system's failure, which was on a “massive scale”.

“These collective failures are just a symptom of what's happening to our country,” she said.

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Ramphele, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, said the class of 1976 said no to a system that sought to undermine it.

Today, the education system was worse in many ways compared to 1976, with the lack of government accountability and corruption.

“Our schools are failing on a massive scale,” Ramphele said.

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“We have a second-class system that accepts second-rate results.”

This failure had seen the middle and upper classes buy themselves out of the public education system, which only widened inequality.

Sixty-six percent of children that started school in 2001 had either dropped out or failed matric, she said.

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Setting a pass at 30 or 40 percent was endemic of the school system's failure. Ramphele asked if a person would fly with a pilot who was only 30 percent competent.

The use of textbooks in schools had become a money laundering vehicle for the politically connected. Many schools had no basic services.

She said Agang would make good on one of the struggle's core principles - quality education for all.

The soon-to-be-launched political party intended raising the minimum pass to 50 percent, conduct subject teacher tests, enforce minimum standards for new teachers, allocate funding for rural schools and scare skills such as maths, upgrade school infrastructure, and bolster teacher numbers.

Education was a means of lifting people out of poverty and would help tackle South Africa's social ills.

“Together we can build an education system that restores pride,” Ramphele said.

“True freedom for all people begins with quality education.”

She said Agang would be formally launched as a political party on Saturday.


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