Zuma guilty of education denialism
Annette Lovemore, Shadow Minister of Basic Education
28 September 2012
The Presidency’s "surprise" at the DA’s view that President Zuma is not fit to serve on a United Nations Education Panel shows the extent of its “education denialism”.
Instead of acknowledging the steady destruction of our school system, the Presidency pats itself on the back for its “many achievements”.
Perhaps the Presidency should read the2011/2012 Annual Report of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), which was released today. It reveals some damning findings on education delivery.
- Basic school infrastructure
The Presidency argues that billions have been allocated to infrastructure development. The Annual Report, however, shows that the DBE underspent on the programme that includes infrastructure development by more than R 1 billion. It missed its basic level of school infrastructure target by more than 30%.
- Teacher recruitment and placements
The Presidency proudly announced its target of producing more than 40 000 teachers by 2014, while the Auditor-General found that the DBE underspent on teachers and education human resources by R43 million.
The DBE also gave evidence of the lack of a holistic recruitment and retention strategy in a Portfolio Committee briefing last month.
The placement system of the Funza Lushaka bursary scheme, meant to build teaching capacity and fill vacancies, is incompetently managed. More than 50% of qualified teachers have not been placed.
- Educational targets versus educational achievements
The Presidency seems to confuse setting of educational targets with actual educational achievement. The Auditor-General found that only 47% of targets set by the DBE in 2011/2012 have actually been achieved.
The DBE also revealed in a recent briefing on Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals in South Africa that it is unlikely to achieve its quality targets.
The Presidency accuses us of “refusing to celebrate” the progress made in education as if our concern at the poor quality of schooling is somehow unpatriotic. But it is precisely because we love our country and want opportunities for all our children that we are critical of government’s failings.
Like Aids denialism, the consequences of education denialism will be felt when it is too late. The DA will be the first to celebrate when all our learners receive quality education and are given the best possible opportunity to succeed. Not a moment before.