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Incentives for a decent education


The ANC will always be the recognised leader in attaining freedom. But they are not the only ones who can rule

File picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)

My column is not informed by politics. I only mention political agencies and actions within a context that will sensitise my readers to what can be achieved in our young republic.

The common perception is that politicians are natural liars. While this may be true, we must never forget that they are in Parliament because we put them there. The corollary should be that, when they fail to deliver, we can take them out. The only house rule is that you attack the portfolio, not the person. That is one way for your democracy to be seen to be working.

The body politic, that is, you and I, should put a face to a department. When we have a problem with rising costs, or service delivery, we should know the path to the office of the person at whose desk the buck stops. This way, we will evolve a proactive participation in the running of the country. No need to take to burning buses or trashing trains.

I will reiterate a personal conviction based on pragmatism and experience.

The ANC will always be the recognised leader in attaining freedom. But they are not the only ones who can rule.

They are already recycling ministers. This says that they don’t have suitable takers for high jobs from a population of 40million plus. They can blame the 1913 Bantu Education Act. In my book, this was the most heinous of all racial injustices.

The situation hasn’t improved in the past 23 years. The inferior education that left a shortage of highly educated black people for our needs is further perpetuated by the travesty of the education system in place today.

One doesn’t throw out things that work unless you have an equally good, or better, model as a replacement.

This leads to the exercise of our rights regarding who teaches, what they teach, and how we make changes based on identified needs.

We must learn to teach the child to look without telling him what to see.

The spurious insistence on teaching children their rights should be changed for a vigorous programme explaining how rights are earned, not given. Parents can play a massive role here.

Staying with education, the role of the principal should be spelled out clearly.

The head of the school must have a clear indication of what his administrative duties are and how different they are to his educational mandate.

We should even consider separating the two fields of responsibility to improve delivery.

The credit for performance is not a personalised victory for the minister of education.

The children who achieve well would do so despite her gratuitous strutting when the numbers are good. Instead, there should be incentives for teachers to up their game.

Let’s start the process now.