Hope for Education in South Africa
Faith Leaders engage with the Education Crisis
Bishop Zipho Siwa and Prof Jonathan Jansen
Leaders from the faith based community gathered from 1-2 November 2012 in Bloemfontein to discuss the critical state of education in the country under the theme “Hope for education in South Africa”.
The summit reiterated the present crisis in our education system after looking at some devastating statistics that imply that an estimated 500 000 learners leaving the system with inadequate education are added to the list of jobseekers each year. The result: increasing unemployment, poverty, crime and hopelessness.
We firmly believe that there is hope for change and improvement. We believe that the existing points of energy must be recognised and enhanced in order to become ever growing beacons of hope.
Noting that the parents, teachers and learners are the key stakeholders the faith based community said:
- Firstly, the faith based community acknowledges with humility our many shortcomings in this regard. However our mission and mandate demand that we speak out for the sake of our children, many of whom will remain trapped in lifelong poverty without quality education.
- The present crisis in our education system is not just an organisational, infrastructural or curriculum problem. We believe it is fundamentally a moral problem which has led to a lack of discipline, leadership, work ethic, passion and vocation. Education in SA needs to be much more than the transfer of knowledge. It must be about the transformation of people.
- We therefore need ‘deep change’ – not only for better school buildings and teaching resources but also revitalised, quality teaching and learning. We affirm the many dedicated and committed educators of whom many more are needed in the system. We must help to restore the moral fabric in our educational system. We commit to pray for our teachers and support them on a regular basis. We need to encourage them but we also need to keep them accountable. We thus call upon the church and the nation to set aside a ‘day of prayer’ for education (first week of February?)
- The faith based community is committed to encourage principals, teachers and learners as part of the solution to the prevalently low morale presently witnessed. There is no place for power play and or politics in our educational system as it is always at the expense of our children.
- The faith based community reclaims its prophetic voice and will speak out on issues such as lack of discipline, governance, moral behaviour, teachers’ commitment and underlying ethos, and accountability and inability of the state to intervene effectively.
- A systematic investigation of models of education that include greater partnerships with faith based communities need to be carried out. We will continue to engage with government in strengthening partnerships such as the initiative of the historic schools restoration project and others. The faith based communities have the infrastructure to consider taking responsibility for extra education of and mentorship programmes for pupils.
- We call upon government and unions to be accountable for the sake of our children. To this end we will seek an audience with government and all education related unions to discuss the above mentioned issues.
Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Prof. Jonathan Jansen – Rector, University of Free State
Archbishop Dr. Zandisile Magxwalisa – Jerusalem Church in South Africa
Rev. Vuyani Nyobole – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Dr. Renier Koegelenberg – National Religious Association for Social Development
Dr. Welile Mazamisa – National Religious Association for Social Development
Dr. Braam Hanekom – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
Dr. Dawid Kuyler – Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
Fr. Richard Menatsi – Catholic Church in South Africa
Pastor Dr. Butisi Yakobi – Assemblies of God South Africa
Rev. Hermy Damons – International Federation of Christian Churches
Canon Desmond Lambrechts – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Rev. Luxolo Plaatjie – Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
Rev. Vasco Da Gama Seleoane – African Enterprise
Rev. Moss Ntlha – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
Dr. Johann McFarlane – Transformational Christian Network
Mr. Marcus Van Wyk – National Dialogue Initiative for Social Change
19. Prof. Stephen Hendricks – Methodist Church of Southern Africa, University of Pretoria
Ms. Bongi Moyo-Bango – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Dr. Martin Young – Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
Rev. Vusimusi Sgudla – Baptist Convention of South Africa
Mr. Gordon Bauer – Anglican Church of Southern Africa Free State Diocese
Rev. Sipho Mahokoto – National Religious Association for Social Development
Dr. Gustav Claassen – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
Mr. Suroor Christian – Alazhar High School
Mr. Henry Jeffreys – Self-Employed Journalist, Analyst
Sheikh Achmat Sedick – Muslim Judicial Council South Africa
Ms. Alison Joy Gwynne-Evans – University of Cape Town
Bishop Adam Taaso – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Mr. Trevor Jennings – Transformational Christian Network
Mr. JP Landman – Business Sector
Mr. Gerhard Van Greunen – Doxa Deo
Rev. Faith Whitby – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Bishop Peter Witbooi – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Rev. Omphemetse Mmutle – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Mr. Kevin Tait – Upward Bound
Ms. Mary Metcalfe – National Schools Partnership
Ms. Boitumelo Gladys Mmutle – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Mr. Alfred Modise – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Mr. Thunzi Ndivane – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Rev. Mcoseleli Solwandle – Assemblies of God South Africa – Free State