Maimane engages voters at Park Station, unveils education plan

BOSA leader Mmusi Maimane engages voters at Park Station, unveils education plan. Picture: Supplied

BOSA leader Mmusi Maimane engages voters at Park Station, unveils education plan. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 17, 2024


Johannesburg’s bustling Park Station became the focal point for political discourse as BOSA leader Mmusi Maimane engaged directly with community members, shedding light on the party’s education plan yesterday.

“Our education plan is a cornerstone of our agenda and we propose targeted interventions to rescue South Africa’s education system. This includes raising the minimum pass mark to 50% and introducing an independent education ombud to hold the government accountable,” he said.

In response to concerns about technological advancements, Maimane said BOSA will equip learners for the future job market.

“The Department of Basic Education’s own Diagnostics Report shows that the overwhelming majority of matric students who take crucial subjects, such as Maths and Physical Science must pass them with less than 50%.

“It is no surprise that we have a shortage of engineers and scientists as we are failing to equip enough people to meet the market’s needs. Low expectations drive down excellence in achievement. The current standards tell our learners that 30% and 40% are acceptable pass marks.

“To achieve high levels of education performance, we must aim high. That includes raising the minimum expectations. Once we set a benchmark to a pass mark of 50%, a clearer picture of student performance emerges.”

Maimane noted that BOSA will refer to the Inspector General of Education, a separate office from the DBE with the authority, to rule on school standards, teacher quality, and complaints. In the Netherlands, there is an office called the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, which is crucial to educational progress.

“Such an office, established in South Africa and accounting directly to Parliament will help us deal with the issues of corruption and quality control in education. This will prevent wasteful expenditure by the DBE.”

According to Maimane, the National Development Plan aims to increase the number of teachers by 160 000, with a significant lack of STEM teachers. “In South Africa, we have a teacher shortage combined with low morale. We consequently recommend raising teachers’ pay and perks to a competitive level.

“Attracting younger teachers will also revitalise the sector, allowing under-performing teachers to retire and introducing new performance indicators. It will also motivate teachers who have been over performing under adverse conditions.

“We advocate replacing Life Orientation with an externally assessed topic that is more rigorous and in keeping with our current demands, and introducing an externally examined subject that develops critical thinking and broad knowledge.”

BOSA proposed doubling the number of Maths and English teachers in primary schools and for social workers to be able to work closely with pre-schools to identify any home-related challenges to learning.

“Pre-schools must be stimulating environments to encourage creativity and learning and implement stronger security at all schools. We must eliminate the problem of violence, bullying and gang-related activities in our schools. There have been too many reports of student stabbings and conflicts with teachers to ignore.

“Schools must be a place that makes teachers and pupils feel safe. We propose tightening security measures at schools to promote an effective environment of teaching and learning. Security must be increased to reduce levels of vandalism and theft of school property by criminals.

“Trauma and counselling services should be offered to students in violent locations, including debriefing in crisis circumstances and in-depth therapy as needed. Discipline is the responsibility of teachers in collaboration with parents, who must agree on what is suitable so that they can help each other cultivate the right set of values,” said Maimane.

The Star

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