Newspaper clipping – The Mercury – 5 August 2008
FIVE CHANGES FOR EDUCATION
Grade nine certificate on the cardsANGELIQUE SERRAO
From next year every grade nine pupil will write a national certificate whether they leave school or not.
This was one of five major policy changes announced by education minister
Naledi Pandor yesterday. Other changes include proposals to:
But an education expert said that although these changes were positive, they would make little difference to the poor academic performance of children.
The new policy will ensure that every grade nine pupil will get a general
education certificate if they decide to leave school before matric. The
exams, which will take place at the end of the grade 9 year, will see
pupils writing a national paper set for both English and maths and internal
exams for the other subjects.
The department also announced that it wanted to reduce class sizes so that classes had less than 40 children to one teacher. Education spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said the ideal was a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:35, but at present some schools had as many as 60 children in one class. The new policy will now allow up to 5% of teacher posts to be distributed in a “pro-poor” manner.
Another policy, which is set to shake up the education sector, is the rearranging of districts. Each school district will now be based on a smaller geographic area, along municipal lines, and will be composed of 300 schools. Under these districts there will now also be sub-districts that will have 30 schools each.
The department is also planning to expand the 50 further education and training colleges in the country. At present 14 000 students are enrolled at these colleges, but the department aims to get one million students into colleges by 2014.
In addition, Pandor said a feasibility report had been done to see whether
it was possible to get internet technology into all schools by 2013.
Education expert Jonathan Jansen said while he believed it was a good
idea to give grade nines a single certificate, he felt that the changes
were politically pleasing but would not do much to change education.