OPINION: Fix education and change the world

DURBAN – Seventy pupils in one classroom and a call for more teachers, a janitor and better security at a Bishop Lavis school has been doing the rounds on social media.

If we are passionate about transformation, it’s hard to accept the persistence of widespread disadvantages in education in this country. What can be done?

First, basic pre-school education must be free.

The young must learn to read, write, do arithmetic and (in the digital age) be able to type.

Books are our friends.

Reading with understanding (comprehension) is the key.

If parents cannot read, let them tell their children stories over and over again.

Go to the library and let their youngsters look at picture books.

Second, reduce class sizes. Huge teacher to pupil ratios make quality learning impossible, forcing under performing children to drop out.

Churches can open their doors to study circles. Local businesses can partner and promote on-site support for teachers.

Third, promote trade schools. We have a real need for good tradesmen.

South Africa needs plumbers, electricians, carpenters, builders, hairdressers, computer literacy, entrepreneurs and specialists in the service industry.

Finally, the challenge of lifelong education and training should be our quest.

Democracy is teaching us to evaluate and understand positions that strongly differ from our own.

People all over the world are just a click away from what’s happening on this planet, but they struggle to process all the information on tap.

In the words of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

Clearly, there is work to be done.


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