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Economist calls for matric bonus

Jan 08 2013 12:53
Matrics

Matrics wait anxiously for their results. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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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 teach?

"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?

 

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