South Africa Wants to Create Better Students, Not More
South Africa has set to raise admission requirements for some of its public universities in an attempt to decrease the alarming dropout rate (up to 35% in some schools).
"In South Africa, many schools are plagued by violence, several have inferior or inadequate infrastructure, but above all, there are too many learners who, after many years of school, have not mastered the skills they should have mastered. Research has shown, for instance, that many learners who complete Grade 6 are not able to write even simple sentences, or to do basic arithmetic. Learners from poorer areas of the country are more likely not to have learnt what they should have. It becomes more difficult for these learners to enter tertiary education, secure jobs and lift themselves, their families and communities out of the burden of poverty. This has knock-on effects for the nation as a whole."
Both The Young Communist League South Africa and The South African Democratic Students Movement have gone on the record stating that these actions are attempts to keep the black South Africans out of historically white universities and the increase in admissions requirements (based on test performances) puts students at a socioeconomic disadvantage at an even further disadvantage.
From Institute for the Future:
Although a desire to create better students and a globally competitive workforce is well placed, the focus in test scores in may cause more harm than good in the long run as it alienates potentially good thinkers.
We also see evidence of the still very powerful race issues in South Africa that despite best efforts have not subsided. How else may this be effecting development and poverty in South Africa?
Issues concerning how to create an affective educational system for all is a global concern. This dilemma may be a space to create unusual alliances and partnerships which can cut across typically derisive differences.
Sources:South Africa Node October 2010 pg. 6: