Read to succeed


Parents and communities are urged to develop and inculcate a culture of reading at home and to be more involved in their children’s education if they want their children to excel.

This was said by Joburg East District director Mnyamezeli Ndevu as the nation introspects on last year’s matric results. After many years of good and poor performances between different cohorts of schools, the debate still rages on with no answer in sight to improve performances, particularly in township and rural schools.

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Their former model C and private schools continue to excel, seemingly aided by advantages said to prop them up, like wealthy parents and those who continue to benefit from past inequality.

However, despite the disparity, some poor rural and township schools continue to shine.

Ndevu said the answer lay in communities and parents. “Schools are managed by one policy with similar expected outcomes of a good and quality education, and it ensures equal access to any public school a child is eligible to enter, regardless of background,” Ndevu said.

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“[Poorly resourced] schools are [provided additional material and support] to enable them to deliver quality results and not just quantity; they also receive technical backup and platforms for parental involvement through the school governing bodies.”

In spite of this, schools in Alex and other townships will not achieve the ultimate 100 per cent achieved by some rural schools without a drastic change in parental involvement and selfless attitudes by the school governing bodies.

Ndevu said parents and guardians are not stepping up to the plate. “Despite ample notices and several registration opportunities availed throughout the year, many parents delay in registering their children and disappear after the children’s admission.

“Also, they ignore invitations to meetings scheduled in advance to discuss their children’s performance, losing the opportunity to partner with the school in improving the children’s conduct and discipline towards education. Only to blame the school and teachers for the bad results after the final examinations when it’s too late.”

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He said other parents wanted their children to be advanced to higher grades regardless of poor performance and they shunned remedial support.

He said adopting a reading culture in the home would cascade down to the children, improve their comprehension and master the meaning of words and essential concepts applied in most subjects from foundation level.

Reading and early learning, he said, should be from all sorts of readily available books, newspapers, radio programmes, many libraries in the township and apps on smartphones, which most children have and use most of the day.

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Ndevu said some residents sought school governing body positions for ulterior personal motives and blamed school management when they were removed. “They then engage in emotional blackmail and false accusations of the principals and teachers, and mobilise communities to engage in unwarranted protests to the detriment of teaching and learning.”

He urged parents to be wary of who they elected to school governing body positions. “They should elect professionals of good character with an interest in the township’s education and development, and avoid characters who would misuse their position to engage heads of departments and teachers beholden to them.”

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Also, he urged parents to participate in meetings and awareness campaigns on registrations, and meetings on planning and budgeting in order to influence the development of their schools, as done by successful schools.

Details: Joburg East District, Gauteng Department of Education 011 666 9002.

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