WELCOME back to school after what has hopefully been a relaxing break! We did not publish a July edition of The Teacher this year, because of the holidays. Our August edition, however, is bigger than usual and contains Edutech Puisano, our quarterly supplement on education technology.
Thanks to everyone who completed our readership survey, particularly the many rural schools and those in KwaZulu-Natal whose responses were overwhelming. We are intent on transforming The Teacher into a publication that truly meets your educational needs. To do this, we need as many educators as possible to fill in the survey.
Just as teachers were beginning to get to grips with Curriculum 2005, they must now prepare themselves for more changes. Although it is late in the day for a radical departure from the partially-implemented Curriculum 2005, it is surely better late than never. Given the findings of the Curriculum Review Committee, which concluded that Curriculum 2005 had serious design flaws as well as unnecessary complexities and a lack of emphasis on content, a new version, Curriculum 21, is to be phased in. It is a pity that so much time and money has been wasted on an inferior and unnecessarily complicated curriculum, which has had a negative effect on the confidence of many teachers and the quality of education children have been receiving. It is worrying that Curriculum 2005 appears to have done untold damage to our already ailing education system. Reading, writing and numeracy have been neglected by many teachers who have wrongly taken outcomes-based education to mean little more than dividing their learners into groups to do “group work”. Reports that 10 000 grade four South African children fared worse than their counterparts in many other African countries in a recent study on literacy, numeracy and life skills, also make for depressing reading.
But despondency won’t turn our education system around. As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said: “When we think of failure, failure will be ours. If we remain undecided, nothing will ever change. All we need to do is want to achieve something great and then simply do it. Never think of failure, for what we think, will come about.” Maybe it’s time to start celebrating small victories.
—The Teacher/Mail & Guardian, July, 2000.