- Parent education – learning starts at home and doesn’t only happen between the four walls of a classroom or between the covers of books
- Bringing back proper teacher training colleges
- Pulling experienced teachers out of retirement to twin with younger teachers
- Pulling retired principals out of retirement to coach current principals on school management and leadership
- Increasing the teacher to learner ratio
- Providing high-quality preschool education for all with teachers properly trained in early childhood development right from the start. Please read my blog on Play Poverty
- Training up and employing more learning support and remedial teachers and therapists to deal with the growing number of children needing remediation for learning gaps in the foundation phase which over-burdened teachers cannot cope with and are not qualified to deal with
- Inviting the world of volunteers to help in our schools as teachers aids – too many of our 25 000+ schools have 5 teachers for 500 children who could do with more manpower, the buildings get repainted and refreshed every election year but the teacher-learner ratio doesn’t change!
- On that note, perhaps if we had foreign teacher aids working here, we might just have to improve basic aspects in our schools that are often parlous including water, sanitation, electricity, desks, chairs and even supplies of stationery and books, in order to avoid bad foreign press about the poor conditions many of our learners and educators find themselves in
- Maintaining and improving infrastructure to attract investment and support business growth
- Building a robust economy and broadening the tax base
- Fighting corruption – apart from misappropriation of funds it is a terrible example to our youth.
Our power to change things lies not in looking back but at the past, but in what we do and the decisions we make in the present. A motorboat provides a great analogy. Looking back at the wake created behind the boat and blaming the wake (the past) for where we find ourselves now, is hardly helpful. It is disempowering, disrespectful and shows we have learnt nothing from the past. Our power lies in the motor on the boat right now. It needs fuel and it needs to be steered and guided to get where we want to go – to a healthy place that serves us all.
May this Youth Day remind our country’s leaders that they are giving (or not) the boat, that is our youth, both fuel and direction. And they are doing a spectacular job of putting our nation and every citizen within it – not just our youth, at enormous risk year on year. Let’s hope that one day, Youth Day will be a celebration of real progress for our youth, not just a commemoration of violence and inequality in the past (the Bantu Education Act and the Soweto Uprising).
The 16th of June for me is just a reminder that we are still cutting down our nation’s youth at the knees and shooting our nation’s future in the foot – you only have to look at our unemployment figures and crime statistics to know that this is true.
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Enjoy the podcast of the Refiloe Mpakanyane Weekend Breakfast Show on 702, where we discussed Learning Gaps and Why They Need To Be Closed Quickly.
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