The ANC has called on the Basic Education Ministry to urgently implement the party’s resolution that technical and vocational schools be prioritised, to ensure pupils are ready for the fourth industrial revolution.
The ruling party and the IFP, UDM, and DA raised concern about the poor quality of basic education on Tuesday, shortly before Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced 2019 matric results.
ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete said it was disappointing that, out of the country’s 25000 schools, there were only 1500 technical schools. “Every school that we are now going to open must be a vocational school, and if it is not a vocational school, it must be a school that trains kids in creative arts and (gives them) skills,” said Dakota.
He added that the prioritising of vocational and technical schools was among the party’s last conference resolutions that needed to be implemented.
“As the ANC, we need to train more electricians, plumbers; more people to be ready for the workplace so that we can meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.
IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa, chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts, said the education system did not favour the majority of the country’s young people.
The system was marred by failing infrastructure and a poor quality of educators in the majority of schools.
“It is quite clear that the previously disadvantaged schools remained presently disadvantaged when you look at the fact that your previously disadvantaged schools are playing a game of catch-up (with) former model C schools.
“A maths and science learner and engineering-inspired learner from a rural or township school are most likely to meet the laboratory for the first time in university, while the pupils from the previously and presently advantaged school are most likely to know their way around the laboratory, without any need for help.
“Therefore the issue about equalizing education is very important because the inequality factor plays itself out in education,” he said.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said under the present basic education system the majority of pupils would be left behind in the fourth industrial revolution. “The challenge is the technology in the syllabus, a few pupils have tablets in their schools while others do not even have the internet in their schools,” he said.
He said the government should prioritise the installation of the internet in all schools, and assist each home to connect to the internet. “We need to improve infrastructure to accelerate the fourth industrial revolution, so that so that our children should be able to study online without going to the library.”
DA basic education spokesperson Nomsa Marchesi said she feared that even if the pass rate were to improve, the quality of education would still be compromised as the pass mark remained at 30%. “That is worrying because it makes it difficult for our learners to be able to access university to do degrees that can be of value to them and the economy,” she said.