Ramaphosa to Sadtu: You are the key to economic growth

 

 

On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates attending the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) national congress that quality education is key to the growth of the country’s economy.

Speaking on the first day of the union’s ninth congress at Nasrec, Ramaphosa told 1 500 delegates from across the country that growing the economy, transforming it so that everyone participates in it and eradicating poverty is part of the seven priorities the sixth administration will focus on as highlighted in his State of the Nation address.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa’s Sona outlines seven priorities for sixth administration

“Educators such as yourself have a trendemous task of shaping the minds of impressionable young people and also preparing them to make positive contributions to the world. So if you never thought that your role is important wherever you are, in whatever school you are, I stand here to tell you that your role of paying attention to that learner in your class is so important that when you look at it in the broader scheme you are actually an economic player. You are a key economic player because you are there to ensure that this young person’s mind is stimulated, their mind is opened up so that they become a capable participant in the economy of our country,” the president said.

Ramaphosa said education is an “important weapon” and the “real engine” South Africa can use to grow the economy on a higher trajectory.

“We all need to pledge here to commit ourselves to ensuring that the children and the young people of South Africa receive the best education possible and you are the people who are best placed to deliver that education. You are the best placed people to ensure that our young people are educated and we become an educated nation.”

Ramaphosa also said Sadtu must be effective in early childhood development (ECD) particularly now that ECD has been moved from the department of social development to the department of basic education. He said the teacher union must be at the forefront of developing programmes that will ensure that children have access to quality learning from a young age.

Ramaphosa raised concerns about the high drop-out rate of learners who do not make it to matric. Ramaphosa said he estimated that the drop-out rate is sitting at 45%, saying this was because almost a million children start school in grade 1 but in grade 12 only about 550 000 learners write matric.

“We have to ask ourselves where have these 400 000 or 450 000 gone to? This is a question that we need to occupy ourselves with as a government, as Sadtu, all of us need to ask ourselves where are they.”

He said however that the drop-out rate can be attributed to a whole number of socio-economic factors such as child-headed households and young children dropping out of school to go look for work to support their families.

Working with trade unions, Ramaphosa said government has developed the national integrated assessment framework that will look closely at some of the socio-economic challenges and find solutions to them.

He added that the government will also work hard to improve teaching conditions and ensure that there is safety in schools. On school safety, Ramaphosa said government is going to make sure that there is proper fencing, burglar alarms and functioning relationships with local police.

“This is what we would like to make available to you to improve your conditions of employment.”

Angie Motshekga, the minister of basic education, and Blade Nzimande, the minister of higher education, training and science, are both expected to speak on the second day of the congress on Thursday. The congress is expected to elect new national office bearers, with nominations set to open on Wednesday afternoon. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Bongekile Macupe
Bongekile Macupe is an education reporter at the Mail & Guardian.
Advertisting

South Africa has been junked

Treasury says the credit ratings downgrade “could not have come at a worse time”, as country enters a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown with little money saved up

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories