A new school year; where a good matric starts statement by statement by Director Media and Marketing (13 January 1998)

The new school year has started.

On the positive side, it is a time of optimism and of hope, with new challenges waiting to be realised. The grade ones start a new school career and a new curriculum whilst the matric class of 1998 has 300 days ahead to prepare for their entrance into the adult world of employment and responsibilities; millions of parents are prepared to make huge sacrifices to offer their children the best possible education; thousands of teachers are able and willing to teach those in their care to the best of their capabilities.

The UDM supports the Minister of Education’s urgent call for a culture of teaching and good administration by teachers and principals, and a culture of learning and of discipline by school children. This has always been the basic formulae for successful education, and needs to be implemented now. The countrywide decisions to put the sacking of temporary teachers on the ice, are also supported.

On the negative side, reports of schools not being able to open because of the lack of teachers, of handbooks not being delivered or in some instances not even been ordered, of the low morale amongst many teachers because of the uncertainty of their job future, and of the apparent lack of funds to provide the basic necessities for a decent education, are disheartening.

These are the things that the Minister and Department of Education need to square up to. These issues need to be tackled creatively and urgently, because the matric class of 1998 only has 10 months before reckoning day.

The UDM calls on the Minister to make 1998 the year of delivery in our schools, not a year of threats and hollow promises.

It is now time to start making it work.

As a party, the UDM will positively support all measures aimed at educating our children to the level where our country, our parents, our employers – and our children – can really take pride.

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