"We need to call out the crisis as real!"

"We need to call out the crisis as real!"

Written on 06/28/2019
Nolands Team


Speaking at the Sports Science Institute earlier this month as the keynote in a conference hosted by Symphonia, Old Mutual Chairman Trevor Manuel threw out a challenge to business to see the crisis in education for what it is – urgent and a growing threat to our collective future.

He made the point that the last time South African business acted in concert, forcefully and aligned, was in helping to dismantle apartheid. He said the time has come again for a similar collective, urgent effort. Panic needs to set in and the crisis articulated and framed in existential terms. Taking the long view, people simply cannot be allowed to be left behind, he said.

He put up 5 proposals:

First was the massive concern around the so-called “Reading for Meaning” issue where South Africa rates last out of 50 countries in the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy study. Done in their fourth year of primary schooling, the study tests reading comprehension. It found that 78% of South African pupils at this level could not read for meaning. Mr Manuel said the target in this crisis within a crisis was 100 books read by the age of 10. We need to find the key to discovering the pleasure of reading he said.

Secondly, and linked to this, was the need to re-train our educators, many of whom are simply not equipped to keep pace with the educational demands of a changing world.

Thirdly, he said that with the use of technology we could invest in parents to be brought into the educational loop. Content should be created to achieve this.

The fourth point made was to strengthen the schools’ governing bodies, forging a stronger and more involved link between school and wider community.

Fifth, he paid tribute to the initiatives made by the Partnership in Possibility which provide a dynamic bridge between schools and business.

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