On the 04th of January 2012, our Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, stood boldly in a packed auditorium in Pretoria to triumphantly present the results of the class of 2011. There were loud cheers as she announced an unconvincing 70.2% pass rate, for the whole country nogal. I believe the pass rate should have sky rocketed to an insane level, after they (mam Angie and her allies) introduced the 30% pass rate. Some educational pundits say that we should laud the department for a job well done. Job well done my scrawny buttocks. With a pass rate so low, lower like no other in the world, we should have at least gotten a colossal 90% or more (I can see some of you nodding in agreement with me).
It is true that there is a litany of factors that could have prevented some schools from obtaining an impressive pass rate; lack of proper classrooms, science labs, unqualified teachers, uncontrollable students and parents who do not give two hoots about their children’s futures are just a few. It really boggles the mind that some parents are not supportive of their children’s endeavours. This is evident when it comes to parents meetings. Only a few parents attend, and majority of them do not. And when things go haywire they complain about the principals not informing them about the transformations that occur in the schools. Dear parents, if you really cared about your children’s future, you would be part of the School Governing Body (SGB). If you are not, you still can. It is never too late to do something good. Rather late than never or sorry (whatever floats your boat). Have you noticed that students whose parents are part of the SGB excel more compared to those whose parents are not? I know this how, you ask? Some donkey years back when I was still in high school the kids we called the trusted ones (ama-trusted) were the ones who kicked our behinds in all subjects. The reason for this was that most of them had parents in SGB-see what I mean.
Enough about the parents. Wait a minute. Students are also to blame here. In most township schools where some of my cousins went to, students look up to people who put education on the sidelines. There are myriads of them, but one that comes to mind is Kenny Kunene. Kenny is the guy who ate sushi on naked women. He also owns a fleet of expensive cars (nothing wrong with that), but the dude never speaks about the imperativeness of education. Remember him now?
Sometime ago on TV, SABC1 (aka delayed live channel) on a program called Cutting Edge, I saw kids from not so well off families squandering cash on liquor and expensive apparel. They called it “ukukhothana”. It was a disheartening sight to put it mildly. I did not know whether to feel sorry for the bunch or not. Finally, I opted for the former, not because I care for them (I can hear the sanctimonious ones calling me names), but because I was scared for those who try very hard to become, under horrid conditions, men and women of respect. These goons will make things extremely hard for them. They will hijack, kill, and do all sorts of nefarious things just to feed their diabolical habits. One crewmember of one of the groups that gyrated in taxis was asked if he reads, and he said yes he does. But when asked what book he is currently reading he could not answer. He did not even know the author and the chapter he is on. Quite a sad story, if you ask me.
I digress. How can I forget to give an astronomical applause to the schools that did exceptionally well amid hordes of problems. The heap of praise does not only go to the students, but also to the teachers and parents who were so supportive throughout the tough times. Indeed tough times do not last, but tough people do. I salute you. Mzansi salutes you.
Basic Education Minister, mam Angelina Motshekga, I know you are hell bent on fixing the crisis our education system is facing. However, the 30% pass rate is not a good start. Our education needs something more life changing. It needs scrupulous government officials, dedicated and passionate teachers, and students who are driven by success. And supportive parents. If all these could be concocted, our education system will be a breath of fresh air to all the doubting Thomas’ we have in the country.
Dear parents, teachers, education department, students and the community at large, let us start building a better future for us all and together we can (I’m not campaigning for the ANC). I’m only advocating for a better Mzansi and the catalyst for that is EDUCATION. I’m sure this is not what the gallant class of 1976 fought for. Let us free our minds and be a free people. After all, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”- Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
“PHAMBILI NGEMFUNDO PHAMBILI”