The Nic Spaull report shows the weakness of our current education system. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of SA Grade 4 scholars cannot understand what they are reading; 69% of Grade 6 learners cannot add and subtract properly, have no understanding of multiplication by one-digit numbers and cannot solve simple word problems ( i.e. they cannot do basic mathematics), and 79% of Grade 6 mathematics teachers cannot get 60% on a Grade 6/7 level mathís test.
A proper education is a right, and it's in the Constitution. Education must be comprehensive and combine academic learning with sports, art and other activities. These activities allow learners to realise their full talent. It helps develop the learnersí self-worth.
I wish to showcase the key role of sport. The power of sport is a game changer to schools, clubs, communities and individuals
"The quality of physical education can positively contribute to the health, social and economic environment of the country and its people," says Professor Hans de Ridder, director of the School of Biokinetics, Recreation and Sport Science at the North-West University (NWU).
"Physical education is an important investment in the field of health and, in the long term, it can strongly influence the lives of children in this country." Sport at the grassroots level and in the schools in the underprivileged areas has been grossly neglected.
The national sport governing bodies and national government are riddled with inefficiency, self-interest, lack of cohesion and leadership. They are, by and large, not interested in the development of sport at the community and school level. As an example, the high costs of the promised "free" university education (for only 6% of those who enter the school system) need to be redirected to educating those in Foundation phase and at primary school. A redirection of costs will give all the young learners a real step up to a positive beginning towards better decision-making and a sense of hope and purpose.
The vast majority of SA school children have no after-school sport. The only sport development pathway currently is for those talented sports kids seen in the minority of underprivileged schools, with after-school sports, to be given scholarships in model C schools.
Those lucky few who are seen. Many talented sports kids remain unseen.
To unleash the true sporting talent of this country is not by quotas and "targets" (inevitable as those are). It is by developing facilities, PE teachers and coaches to grow the next generation and become a natural pathway to international sport. A sport, like everything else, cannot be politicised or controlled at the top. It is a groundswell movement and needs in this current barren environment to be driven by local communities. The national government at some stage will add some impetus.
Sport has one advantage; all learners can engage fully and feel its power. Every person can either run, catch, hit, shoot, tackle or kick, which brings instant joy and a momentary feeling of invincibility. It is the trigger to open the door to a whole new world; one of hope and fulfilment.
The government knows that sport is a source of national pride and sport at school and club level helps all to overcome age-old fears and animosities and brings communities together. Think of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and then, watch an inter-schools match anywhere in SA.
A school sports programme leads to teachers inculcating positive values and attitudes and enhancing a sense of well-being and self-image; healthy attitudes towards competition, self-control and playing within a team and within the spirit of sport, as well as, values for good citizenship.
The drive to this full, holistic education is kept alive by NGOs, local sports organisations, volunteers, Rotaries, foundations, supporting businesses and literally thousands upon thousands of many amazing people in all communities who give the underprivileged hope and a sense of purpose. There are so many magnificent individuals in and from the underprivileged environments doing this now.
The vast majority of South Africa, left feeling helpless, hopeless, jobless, with no food and/or money; which will all be passed on to the next generation because the government can't perform its role and we donít make sure that it fulfil its functions