Since the introduction of outcomes-based education, pupils in most schools and, in particular, the pupils from the more disadvantaged areas, are steadily losing literacy skills in English and competency in pretty much everything else.
There are many reasons for this, the primary ones being that, in the General Education Phase (Grades 1 - 9), there are far too many subjects and there is far too little emphasis on the basics.
Time allocated to each subject is ludicrously inadequate. The curriculum is glossed over at an alarmingly superficial level and in no subject is a pupil required to engage meaningfully or in any depth with a difficult concept or an exacting problem or a demanding tract of written material.
There is huge emphasis on pointless, time-wasting assessment tasks, which are then repeated over and over again until they are semi-mastered by all class-members.
In addition, the teachers are overwhelmed by huge classes and eternal administration work, and some of them, as products of the infamous Bantu Education system, are themselves often under-skilled and thus struggling to teach effectively in spite of the demands of this new brand of education.
By this, I mean that teachers struggle to cook the books - to camouflage old-fashioned teaching and learning in an acceptable cloak of OBE.
Consequently, little actual teaching takes place and there is absolutely no studying and memorising.
The result of all this: frighteningly empty storage folders in the pupil's brains.
Most pupils do not develop even a basic body of knowledge on which to build, and constructive learning thus becomes very difficult at the more advanced levels.
Hence, the pathetic matric results and the problems being experienced in the universities.
And, in spite of all the talk about literacy levels, the government continues to ignore the pressing need for libraries and energetic library administrators in the schools. …