WE WANT to wish the class of 2013 a prosperous year.
Having noted the improvement to 61.6% in the province for matric last year, we wish to join in celebrating.
At a provincial level, if everyone can take interest in the education of the young ones, we are likely to compete with top achievers. This is one of the provinces known for having produced great leaders.
A province like Northern Cape – having moved from 68.8% in 2011 to 74.6% in 2012 despite inherent challenges – forces us to believe this is attainable. Last year it was refreshing to see the salary negotiations within the public sector go without disturbances to classes or ending in strikes.
Early interventions by national office, as seen last year, should be encouraged so as to curb any problematic situations within provinces. The sight of volunteers offering extra classes after school and over weekends has been a mainstay to some children.
However, the interventions should extend to ridding the province of mud schools (more than 400 of them are still in existence).
It was disheartening to hear recently that only 28% of the provincial infrastructure budget was spent, citing inadequate numbers of engineers.
The interventions should also talk to the high numbers of children between the ages of 7-15 years (45 621 in the Eastern Cape) not in school.
Not to mention our dilapidated schools. This intervention needs to reinvigorate a solid culture of sports activities in our schools.
From where we are sitting, we fail to see logic in terminating contract teachers. We believe the conversion of contract posts to permanent status will not only benefit teachers, but children and our ailing education system, thus impacting on unemployment.
This should better equip us so to compete with leading provinces (like Gauteng with its 83.9%).
We are salivating at the possibility of a situation where each school is assigned services of educational psychologists to equip pupils with necessary ammunition, especially with social approaches.
For we believe quality learning will be achieved with objective studying. Let educational programmes screened on TV be at the right times or slots and prove more relevant.
As Stephen Covey notes in his book The 8th Habit: "When information and knowledge are impregnated with worthy purposes and principles, you have wisdom.”
The message must go to the ears, and hopefully to the hearts, of the people entrusted with our education.
Surely with results like mathematics (54%), physics (61%), accounting (65.6%) nationally, we cannot for a moment be content in celebrating.
Dr Mosibudi Mangena (former minister of science and technology) said:
"For if it is not slave mentality, how come we take political power in this country, but the delivery of education to the young deteriorates? Let the obvious be stated again and again. This is the only country we have. There is no other.
"This is our only home, Let’s us build it.” Sello Miya & Luyanda Mapela
Zwide, Port Elizabeth