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What happened at the Africa Education Indaba

Staff Reporter

The Africa Education Indaba was launched on Thursday at the Ranch Hotel in Limpopo. The reason for the launch was to discuss  the problems that continue to characterise South Africa’s education system.

These issues were identified as:

  • the home environment which has a direct impact on learner educatiom
  • inequalities from the past
  • shortage of school infrastructure
  • shortage of critical skills
  • sanitation and
  • urban migration
  • the need to learn and have a strong foundation in mother-tongue
  • the mistreatment of educators

The Statistician General SA Risenga Maluleke attended the inaugural launch of the Africa Education Indaba. He spoke of the drivers of poverty which included unemployment, years of schooling, water and sanitation.  Maluleke said it was necessary to address the education system for the better.

Maluleke said education and unemployment contributed 63% to poverty in our country.

But this did not go unchallenged. The spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education Elijah Mhlanga wrote:

 

Head of Educational Leadership and Management at the University of South Africa (Unisa), Professor Pertunia Machaisa who gave the keynote address, spoke of factors that contribute negatively to the performance in schools. She says these include delinquency, family background, school violence and depression

The first panel discussion was facilitated by  Thobela FM’s Lerato Moseogane under the theme: “The challenges and factors impacting on educational performance in Limpopo Province”. The panelists included  South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), Professional Educators Union (PEU), Student Governing Bodies(SGB), Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and the Thuma Mina Movement all from Limpopo Province.

 

Another big issue was the treatment of educators.

The issue of power relations between the unions and the department of basic education came up. These were highlighted as an impediment to teaching.

 

The Provincial Secretary for Limpopo Cosas speaks of issues affecting learners. He told delegates that most of his female counterparts are forced to miss school during their monthly menstrual cycle because the province does not provide free sanitary pads, yet condoms are free and easily accessible.

He also adds that the department should consider introducing agriculture in schools and should remove Life Orientation and replace it with the real history of Africa.

But there were challenges raised. One of the delegates asks why it is that the Limpopo department of education failed to attend the Africa Education Indaba.

Other challenges are old challenges:

Black people don’t want their black children to be taught by their black teachers, says #ThumaMina Lediga who says the governing party has failed the people

 

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and the MEC for Education in the Free State, Dr Tate Makgwe, also attended the inaugural Africa Education Indaba.

Makgwe spoke of old and embarrassing failures South Africa’s education system has gone through.

He took jabs at Outcome Based Education (OBE): “there was a time when we thought children came to class with prior knowledge and teachers were just facilitators”Makgwe added that the Africa Education Indaba provides African solutions for African problems.

Minister Motshekga joined the conversation.

She welcomed the Africa Education Indaba and said: “As a Department we welcome the partnership with the foundation and looking forward to get resolutions”.

Motshekga spoke of the importance of partnerships in education and on how and why some of these relationships in the sector have failed in the past.

But after all was said and discussed, it was Mr Diphete Bopape, editor of a Northern-Sesotho newspaper, who said one of the major reasons our children fail is because they are not taught in their mother-tongue.

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