"Let us not allow television to take away the time of our children to read. Parents should control the time spent by children watching television, so that it does not affect their school work," the President said on Tuesday at the Basic Education Sector Lekgotla that is underway in Pretoria.
The 2017 Lekgotla is a platform for role players in the basic education sector to address issues that include the learner dropout rate and grade repetition.
President Zuma said interventions to get more educators trained in Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting and Languages must be supported to improve learner outcomes in these critical subjects. Further, more children must be encouraged to take these subjects.
Keeping children in school
The President urged stakeholders to work together to stem the tide of school dropouts.
"Our own analysis shows that only less than 50 percent of all the learners who joined our education system reach matriculation level after 12 years of learning."
The President said while there were many factors behind this anomaly, most were socio-economic in nature.
"Whether it is financial reasons, abuse of drugs or other social challenges, we need to tackle them together. We must keep our youth in school.
"We collectively call upon all sectors of society to play their meaningful role to keep our youth in school. That is one of the key issues that this Lekgotla will look into.
"I wish to emphasise that there must be consequences for principals and school management teams who recorded a zero percent pass rate. We must not allow any room in the public service for ineptitude and incompetence. Everyone must strive for excellence, more so in education," said the President.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Lekgotla, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said in rural areas and child-headed families, girl learners were dropping out to take care of their siblings. However, the department is still looking into how it can effectively intervene in this and other identified obstacles to children completing their schooling.
Dealing with unviable schools
The Minister said the department is addressing the issue of unviable schools. Most of these schools are found in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo provinces, which produced the lowest pass rates in the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations results.
Speaking to SAnews, Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula said out of 5 537 schools in the province, about 2 000 were found unviable.
"The process of recruitment and appointment has been very slow in the Eastern Cape for some years. The department only started improving in 2014, otherwise we have been dealing with temporary educators," said the MEC.
He said in most cases where unviable schools had to be closed, communities refused to reach an agreement with the department and this has affected the pass rate of many schools in the province.
He said the department has changed its approach when engaging with parents and communities and there is hope, as parents are slowly understanding the impact that these schools have on the future of their children.
Source: SAnews.gov.za (AllAfrica.com)