Is an extra year at school the solution? 8

Government is proposing that another year be added to the education system, which means that in future children will be in the system for 14 years rather than 12.

The introduction of another grade at the foundational level is believed to be a stepping stone for rural children who have shorter schooling hours.

It is expected to strengthen the foundation of the child’s schooling career and ensure that basic numeracy and literacy skills are grasped at an early age.

However, doubts over whether government has the capacity to manage another year of schooling has risen.

As reports over textbook delivery failures and incompetent, untrained educator’s surface each year some are wondering if the education department will have the resources to supervise an extra grade.

Will an extra year place strain on government and taxpayers? Or will it help to prepare children for their schooling careers?

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8 thoughts on “Is an extra year at school the solution?

  • Tass Schwab

    Reading through the replies – wont adding a year at foundation level  and concentrating on being JOB ready in the last 3 years be more of use? Our learners are so not able to leave school and actually walk into any area of work…

  • Cindy Payle Post author

    Hi Ian 🙂 sorry about that, i obviously didn’t make myself clear. If the proposal for the extra year goes through and Grade R is phased in completely it will be 2 extra years. 

    I’m with you on this Ian we desperately need quality!

    i think we need to make better use of school hours, rather than extend them – we could make school attendance compulsory for 20 years and still produce sub par results. 

    I’ve loaded some talks by Prof Jonathan Jansen where he shares some eye-opening stats about the matric results and provides some insights into improving education.

  • Ian Webster

    I agree with you Cindy. Yes, it is good to roll out the additional foundation phase to a wider constituency. That is the only level to work on if we want to improve our matriculants. On the other hand, it is quality we need not mere quantity. Grade 13, Jacqui? I can’t agree. That’s just another quick-fix attempt. We need to get down to the primary and pre-primary levels and improve quality down there.

    Oh, and Cindy, methinks you do need that extra year at school. You said another year will be added, ‘which means that children will be in the system for 14 years rather than 12.” Shouldn’t that be 13? Or did I miss something? One of us has to stand in the corner!  🙂

  • Cindy Payle Post author

    That’s right Tass, the idea is to formally integrate learning that is currently taking place in creche’s and ECD centres – and make it compulsory. The education department is still in the process of integrating Grade R into the system and the proposal is to establish another foundational grade. 

    The question is whether this formalisation will improve learning or just add more pressure to the department to oversee yet another grade. Shouldn’t we first get our ducks in a row before we add any more?

  • Glenda Osborn

    Personally speaking, I am sure that an added year to high school will not have the positive impact that I am sure it is being considered to make.  I believe there should rather be a ‘bridging’ course that more adequately prepares students for any future studies as the leap from high school to higher learning (college or otherwise) is currently rather enormous.  Study terminology alone could send many running for the hills and believing they will never be able to “get through” or study module content – this could be due to lpoor language skills and minimal to non-existent socialising in a variety of environments.

    To a great degree I can align my thoughts with Jacqui. Once students attend varsity or college, not many have access to a vocational or educational coach that can provide guidance on study skills and methods – not every student has the same learning preference that will enable him/her to be able to retain information and perform learned outcomes.  

    In both primary and high schools, students are offered “Life Orientation” as a subject to provide insight into national and international issues that they should know about, the content does not include the skills that are so vital when dealing with day to day issues.  Life throws many curve balls and, if prepared for at least some of them, they will cope better with relationships and challenges in general.  I am placing the emphasis on general life skills, emotional intelligence, basic calculus and accounting, business communication, basic computer skills (if there has not been access to technology in their school or home environment). Students as young as 6 years old own a cell-phone, however, cell phone technology does not equal that of computer technology and does not provide knowledge and skills that business requires.

    What would make adjustment less daunting for students in making the leap to higher learning and what would higher learning institutions prefer as prerequisites to entry to studies?  

    At the end of the day, BUSINESS, will be the client.  Their expectation is not only focused on higher education learning but on years of learning leading to that point.  You may disagree with me here, however, I ask you: What transition is required for a child in primary school to be promoted to high school and from high school to a college or university?  Just a thought.

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    I don’t think it’s going to add any benefits. We need more highly skilled and committed teachers at the Grade R – 3 levels to teach the 3R’s – forget about all the other frilly bits. Go back to basics. Maybe a Grade 13 would be better to train kids in how to adapt to the tertiary education system; teaching them study skills, goal setting, research skills, etc. 

  • Tass Schwab

    I think that many of the more privileged in this country automatically have their children enter Grade 0 or even earlier such as at pre schools. I am thinking that many children go to child minders already at this level but are not being taught some basics that really are useful once entering Grade 1. So this is not a foreign concept rather a formalisation of what already occurs?