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Heed the warning signs of results

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By Dr Firoz Osman – Secretary General, Media Review Network

(source: The Star, Friday 13/01/2012, pg 15)

The matric results delivered with flamboyance, fanfare and panache came under a great deal of criticism by educationists and analysts.

The evaluation by experts slated the very low per cent pass rate required to obtain university entrance, poor teaching skills, abject failure in mathematics and physical science, and the “deception” displayed by politicians to whitewash the overall results.

Seventeen years into independence, pouring enormous resources into our educational system, has not yielded the desired results. The rational explanation is that reversing the decades of oppression cannot be done in such a short period.

Various solutions to address the deficiencies have been suggested. However, one must also consider an interesting study conducted by the Institute for American Values, which established that the family structure has a significant influence on children’s educational performance.

It found that the family unit, or its absence, influences a range of childhood behaviours’ that can bear directly on educational success, such as school misbehaviour, drug and alcohol consumption, sexual activity and teen pregnancy, and psychological distress.

Apartheid undoubtedly disintegrated the family unit forcing families to live apart and depriving children of suitable role models. Post 1994, South Africa’s policy makers who want a better educational outcome for our children must prioritize strengthening the family unit because it is co-dependent with a good education.

Greed, promiscuity, lust and other dishonourable and immoral behaviour, whether by politicians, teachers or parents, undermines the values we should be inculcating in our youth. The matric result is a warning sign. Do we heed it?