Place greater emphasis on mother-tongue education

Adv Anton Alberts

Well-sounding slogans such as “Develop and support a sustainable South African educational system for schools for the 21st century’ shows a shocking estrangement from reality, says Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on basic education.

Adv. Alberts said today during the budget debate on basic education that the reality of the current education system, is that children are allowed to pass despite not being able to read, write or do math properly. This, while participation in the modern economy offer challenges which require great skill levels.

“The required rate of 35% to pass could most probably not be lowered but perhaps the department will surprise us with this in future,” Adv. Alberts says.

He said the following figures sum the result of 20 years of education under ANC rule up very well: 50% of people below the age of 25 who are able to work, are unemployed. That makes up 30% of the country’s total unemployment figure. 60% of all young people leaving schools do not have Matric. It takes on average 806 days to find a job and young people are competing with 6.5 million other unemployed people for a job.

“Basic education is so poor that those children emerging from that system, especially poor black youths, are viewed as unemployable, except as unskilled labour. It is a national disgrace. It appears as if the government wants to keep the masses unskilled in order to control them more easily.

“The first step in the repair of this situation should be the improved implementation of mother-tongue education; secondly more emphasis should be placed on mathematics and science and thirdly the setting of higher pass rates.

“The FF Plus supports the minister’s plans to improve school infrastructure and hopes that it will be done with mother-tongue education in mind. We also hope that the minister will advise the provincial ministers not to target Afrikaans schools to force them to accommodate English speaking children. The program to build new schools can help resolve this crisis.

“Afrikaans schools have, according to the latest statistics, been reduced to only 300. It does not make sense seen in the light of the government’s undertaking that demographics will play an important role in this. After Xhosa and Zulu, Afrikaans is the largest language spoken in the country with English only the sixth largest language. Does this reality means that there should be even more Afrikaans schools in the country?

“Yet, it is only Afrikaans schools which are being forced to accommodate non-Afrikaans speakers. No school should be expected to change its mother-tongue instruction and in so doing change its character. It is unconstitutional and should be stopped.

“Without a well-functioning education system our country has no future. The system will have to improve drastically with regards to standards and mother-tongue education to avoid a catastrophe in the country,” Adv. Alberts says.


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