Cape Town - Efficient Group chief economist Dawie
Roodt proposed on Tuesday that the government pay an incentive of R10 000 for
every matric learner who passes with a distinction in maths and science.
In an opinion piece in Business Day he says there are many
ways to fix the country's schooling crisis, one of which is to offer
pupils the right incentives.
With the average teacher's salary guaranteed at R10 000 a
month, there is little incentive for teachers to work towards improving
education, Roodt argues.
"Why would anyone run the unnecessary risk of losing
their comfy job if they agree to any form of performance appraisal, or if they
allow themselves to be evaluated for their knowledge in the subjects they
"Why would anyone actually work hard if their job and pay were pretty
much guaranteed even if they don’t put their nose to the grindstone? Clearly,
it is in the interest of those teachers who do not make the grade to oppose any
measure that will expose them for the nonperformers they are; the status quo
suits them just fine," he says in the report.
For the same reason, he argues, there are no incentives for
students to work towards a higher pass rate. Why bother if little or no
work will guarantee you a "low standard pass" anyway?
And more troubling, even
if students do work hard to achieve post-matric results, the reality is that a
proper tertiary qualification and a well-paying job are not guaranteed for
many, says Roodt.
Roodt also points to the broken homes in which many South
African children are raised as the crux of the problem. Many children grow up in
poor households with poorly educated parents, if they are fortunate enough to
have parents. For these children, education is not ingrained in them as the key
to success but rather a distraction from the good life.
The solution then to the education problem, Roodt says, is to
pay every matriculant who gets a distinction in maths and science a bonus of
about R10 000. Other initiatives such as a means test, where proof of school
attendance is required for a grant payout, will ensure that parents make sure
their children attend school.
"The rationale behind these suggestions is to break the
undermining relationship between those pupils, teachers, politicians and the
community that keeps the system in the rut. With the correct incentives, pupils
will be more likely to perform," says Roodt.
*What do you think? Any constructive ideas on how we can
uplift our children's schooling and ultimately improve our economy and country
as a whole?