UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT NEEDS OVERHAUL

STATEMENT ISSUED BY PROF L. M. MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR EDUCATION

The study done by the Joint Education Trust indicating that South African school learners have the lowest level of numerical, literacy and life skills in Africa highlights the shocking state of Education in South Africa.

This confirms the UDM's stance that the Education Department urgently needs an overhaul. The Department should reassess resource distribution, educator-learner ratios and socio-economic factors, such as the effects of HIV/AIDS and sexual offences at schools. Of further extreme concern is the literacy rate in South Africa. This study also found that South Africa has the lowest comprehension rates amongst African countries of its Grade 4 pupils. It is a disgrace to further note the similarity between the trends in this study and a similar one undertaken in 1996 amongst grade 7 and 8 pupils. The crisis is deepening.

The low level of life skills among grade 4s is especially concerning given our history and the need to consolidate democracy. This government is making itself guilty of raising a generation of citizens without the necessary skills to become responsible adults, not to speak of having respect for their civil duty, the rule of law or ethical behaviour.

The UDM calls upon the Minister of Education to urgently develop integrated programmes to give South African pupils the winning edge and the prospect of a brighter future by affording them a good education, as is constitutionally required.

Enquiries:
Ms. Annelizé Van Wyk, MP
UDM Caucus Liaison Officer
082 557 4148

Cape Town
11 July 2001