South Africa has again disgraced itself. The M & G report on South Africa’s ranking in the world’s education scales per the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) refers.
These two studies, if the M & G report is to be believed, and the Direct Democracy Forum believe it is to be believed (we have looked at the TIMSS results) show SA’s education to be in just about the worst possible place. If you feel really brave you can download and read the TIMSS Maths, and Science and the PIRLS Reading studies yourselves, so long as you have the bandwidth and disk space needed. These are pretty hefty reports.
The DDF off-the-cuff response is that while our educators’ seem quite positive and upbeat about the studies that attitude hardly reflects the reality of the study results. So, while we acknowledge the comment about negativity and about some of the gains reflected between 2006 and 2011 (comments contained in the M & G report) we believe our educators are not really getting the message. We really do have to come to terms with the reality of South African education but while being kind and understanding about our circumstances and limitations might be the politically correct response, the DDF believe that will not dig us out of this quagmire. Read the study results yourselves and see what you think.
Our education system should be considered a national disaster and require that the resources of a national state of emergency be applied to it’s fixing. We need a graded escalation of endeavour aimed at all levels of the education system, applied consistently over the twelve year education cycle. Maybe even then we may not have got it all right. But at least at the end of such a consistent effort we should be seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
The DDF believe that DDF education policies are the very least response that needs to be applied to this disaster, and furthermore, that SA get on board and match the generic TIMSS study parameters (grade four and grade eight) instead of using the South African study of grades 6 and 9. That way we can at least compare apples and apples and grade our performance against clear and unambiguous international benchmarks.
The buck stops at the ballot box