The World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2014 slated South Africa on a number of issues which were mostly ICT (information and communication technologies) related.
Some key issues were the ranking of South Africa on
The quality of SA’s education system 146 0f 148
The quality of SA’s Maths and science education 148 of 148
Internet access in schools (3.1 of a possible 7) 116 of 148
The importance of ICT to government 116 of 148
Admittedly these rankings are not the result of scientific or academic testing (such as from standardised tests) but are from surveys reported in the WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey. So these are opinions and not facts. But they are pretty damning opinions since they come from the market place that the education system is supposed to serve and worse still are born out by various other surveys and rankings of performance of SA school children in academic test situations such as discussed here at education again in the spotlight and here at maths in crises again and here at why low education standards, indicating that these opinions seem to be born out in more objective measurements going back some years and are even acknowledged by a ministerial task team (see here) – yet government glibly deny the nature and the extent of the problem, as reported here. Yet again, the ANC government is in denial
This report puts SA’s Maths and Science reports pretty much into perspective and coincidentally also more than less supports the WEF survey results.
There is nothing like a bit of first-hand experience to illustrate the effect of our weak maths education system, so here is a gem. Customer to till supervisor when claiming 5% discount on R200 purchased at a major retail grocery chain store – “I have R100 cash and a card. Can I purchase R100 for cash and take my 5% discount on that and purchase the other R100 on my card and take 5% discount on that?”. (Note: 5% discount is a standard arrangement for the store). Supervisor to customer “No. You can’t do that because then you would be getting 10% and we only give 5%”. True story.
One needed to remember that the quality of the supervisor’s maths education was not the supervisor’s fault but was the fault of the ANC government’s education system, which had left her badly misinformed.
The point is that for all government’s rationalisation, our maths and science and indeed many of our humanities education systems are inadequate for the task set them, that is, to educate. Things are not getting better as government asserts, but are sliding. Improved results are not a function of improved performance but of sliding standards and the till supervisor who thinks that 5% of R100 + 5% of another R100 is equal to 10% of R200, will become the norm. Not their fault. It’s the system’s fault and ultimately government’s fault, because the ANC government have hijacked the education system for the sake of political expediency.
A Direct Democracy Forum (DDF) administration will have to undo perhaps as much as a quarter century of educational political expediency. The DDF have a structured policy to address the education crises at all levels from pre-school to post-graduate. Having said that, that education cycle is at least a twenty five year cycle and only those entering the education cycle in year one of a DDF administration will feel the full benefits of being properly educated throughout their academic career. Those already in the cycle at that time will have to play catch-up for the remainder of their academic careers. That is not ideal but at least is better than not playing catch-up, and at least a DDF administration will be supporting them in the process. See DDF eduction policies.
There will be an enormous cost attached to this enormous effort but fortunately a DDF administration, through the application of TEAL, will have the means of paying for it without further destituting the nation. See DDF Tax policies