DA calls on France to not award Minister Motshekga

Issued by Baxolile Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
13 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile Nodada MP

The DA has written to the Ambassador of the French Republic to South Africa, David Martinon, to urge him to not award Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga with the Knight of the French National Legion of Honour.

In order to be distinguished by the Order of the Legion of Honour, an individual must have a good reputation and have provided outstanding service to a nation.

Minister Motshekga and her Department has failed dismally in providing quality education to South African youth condemning them to a lifetime of poverty, unemployment and hunger.

South African children cannot read for meaning and do not have necessary numeracy skills.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) revealed that 81% of grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning, and 56% of South African grade 6 learners cannot read for meaning when tested on the same grade 4 PIRLS evaluation.

South African grade 4s and 8s compared poorly to other developing countries, as well as the rest of the international community, in the last Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) we participated in.

Our teachers have poor content knowledge combined with little performance accountability. South Africa’s teaching quality does not meet international or even regional standards. In 2022, a total of 1 575 unqualified and under-qualified teachers were teaching in classrooms. A Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) that sought to measure teachers’ knowledge of subject matter found that that South Africa is lagging far behind its African counterparts. Grade 6 teachers achieved results below 50% (41% for mathematics and 37% for reading subjects).

Overcrowding and dropouts remain a massive problem. The dropout rate for the 2022 matric class was 31.8 % (337 364 learners), which means that only 54.6% of learners who made it to matric passed.

The learners that do stay in schools, have to try and obtain their education in awful conditions.

The Minister herself revealed in answer to a written parliamentary question (PQ) from the DA that 471 schools still do not have proper sanitation facilities. A PQ from earlier this year revealed that 5 201 schools still have pit toilets.

The fact that Minister Motshekga believes that her dismal performance deserves to be honoured shows how out of touch she is with the people she is meant to serve. Her failure led to 3.4 million young people (34.2% of the 15-24 age group) not being in employment, education, or training (NEET), and 60.7% of South Africans in this age group not having jobs at all, likely because the Minister and her Department failed to provide them with the skills to succeed.

If the Minister had any honour, she would refuse this award and renew her focus on providing South African learners with a quality education.