President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday suggested that there should be consequences for school teachers and principals who continued to produce pathetic pass rates despite the perpetual support from government.
“As you heard [in the introduction by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga] I never went to a certain school. No teacher can claim they ever saw my forehead in class, because I never went to any. But when I hear of schools that produce zero percent pass rate, I ask myself what they were doing from January to November, really?” Zuma addressed the Basic Education Sector Lekgotla in Pretoria.
“Everyday standing I’m front of the kids, but what were they doing really? That is why I’m saying at least there must be some consequences if I’m a teacher [but] no single child passes. The teacher has been working, getting paid but it means they have been paid for doing nothing really. That’s why I’m saying there must be consequences if that happens,” Zuma said.
The high level three-day education summit is being attended by senior government officials in the sector, including Motshekga, her deputy Enver Surty, all education MECs and heads of education departments from across South Africa, district directors and other stakeholders.
Zuma appealed to the players in the education sector to wage a war against the dropout of learners from the education system.
“Importantly, as stakeholders, I urge you to work together to stem the tide of dropouts from schools. Our own analysis shows that only less than 50 percent of all the learners who joined our education system reach matriculation level after 12 years of learning,” said Zuma.
He said there are many reasons fueling that scourge, particularly relating to socio-economic reasons and other social ills.
“Whether it is financial reasons, abuse of drugs or other social challenges, we need to tackle them together. We must keep our youth in school,” said Zuma.
“We collectively call upon all sectors of society to play their meaningful role to keep our youth in school. That is one of the key issues that this Lekgotla will be looking into.”
Zuma also urged South African parents to closely monitor and be actively involved in their children’s education.
“In this regard, I call upon all parents who are able to do so, to read to their children and to also encourage them to read. Let us not allow television to take away the time of our children to read. Parents should control the time spent by children watching television, so that it does not affect their school work,” he said.