AS a trained teacher, I find it hard to accept the status of our school system, and the blatant disregard the current government has for our children and their future.
I am not going to start with the contribution Sadtu has made to this utterly disgraceful status quo as the government is solely to blame for the impact unions have on the system.
Prof Jonathan Jansen and so many others say schools were better in the apartheid era, as reported by The Herald on October 16 ("'Zuma must admit crisis'"). I have heard people make similar comments about different issues before and immediately lost my cool as little to nothing of the sort was true, but I can agree with Jansen and the school principals here, however sad it may be.
To start with, the ANC-led government forced outcomes based education on the South African school system and universities despite calls from various corners of the earth that it did not work. It simply had an arrogant attitude of "we are in charge here now, we will do it our way".
After a whole generation has been lost down the OBE drain and thousands of new teachers trained in the system, the government accepts it is failing. Did this change much? Not at all.
Ministers are replaced and shuffled, but the murder of the system is prolonged. The inherent problem lies with the current administration to accept that it does not have the capacity to manage the system, and to adhere to the calls of the experienced when creating policy and designing systems.
The fear of losing control or being exposed as unequipped to do the job creates the gatekeeper and arrogant attitudes, thus ultimately leading to failure. Shuffling the guard will not change the status of our system.
The government must accept it does not have the ability to govern, and admit to failing the pupils. It must employ educated and experienced teachers who can create policy, who can assess the current situation and urgently initiate a turnaround strategy.
It needs to clip the wings of Sadtu and declare education an essential service. The government child grant must be coupled with the school attendance register, and there should be criminal charges for parents whose children don't attend school.
The school system needs to be jacked up post haste to restore confidence in teachers and from pupils as to the purpose of school and the benefit thereof. In a country with the most unequal population and standards, the teachers, especially those in township schools, should stop shrugging their shoulders at the system and start doing something about it themselves.
They should add their voices to the calls for change, stop striking and start setting examples of hard work, punctuality and diligence to the pupils.
Francois Greyling, DA councillor, Ward 52, Despatch