“What am I doing to inspire learners to stay in school?”

Two of our teachers from the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre – Crispen Bvumbghe and Zodwa Buthelezi – recently attended the one-day “Inspired Teachers Conference” in Johannesburg.

The conference was launched by QualityLife Company in 2012 in a drive to share leadership lessons and inspiration with our teaching community.

What follows are some of Crispen’s post-conference thoughts. If you have any of your own thoughts, please feel free to comment at the bottom of this page.

“We didn’t need anyone to confirm it for us, but the words were no less powerful: ‘the post-independent education system is failing.’

According to the latest statistics, of the 1.6 million South African schoolchildren who enter grade one at the beginning of each year, less than 40% will go on to graduate from high school.

That is a frightening statistic.

During the conference we discussed a number of challenges facing education in this country, but I would say – in summary – there were two primary reasons offered for the shocking aforementioned statistic:

1)      Teachers are simply not inspired

2)      The link between teacher, parent, administrator and student is broken

The second point is interesting and is not – in my opinion – isolated to South Africa.

The bottom line is that – in general – administrators and parents have absented themselves from the education process. Their perception (you could even say their “expectation”) has become that a child’s “education” is the responsibility of the teacher and the state. Education is no longer viewed as a collaborative process and the family is certainly no longer considered to be the “primary educator.”

Of course we could argue that the state is to blame.

But actually, the point I think is to start our analysis “closer to the ground”. What are we doing (as teachers and parents) to drive a better education for our learners? How are communities empowering themselves and are they expecting more or even, are they taking maximum advantage of the resources available to them? To what extent are we organising ourselves for a better future?

Most importantly, for us – as teachers – the conference reminded us to ask the question:

“What am I doing to inspire learners to stay in school?”