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Hey teacher ... DON’T leave them kids alone ..  they DO need an education

According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, truant teachers were absent for close to 7.5 million days last year.

futurefact has already questioned South Africans on this as well as many other issues so we checked our databases to see if parents of school-going children were aware that teachers aren’t even pitching up at schools to teach. 40% of South Africans (ranging from 43% of black and coloured families to just under 30% of white and Indian families) have kids at school, three quarters of them at government schools with private schools becoming more the norm at an upper middle class level.

Significantly, considering what we hear about the woeful state of our education, well over 80% believe that their kids are going to good schools and getting a good education (this increases to over 90% where kids are at private schools but remains above 80% even at government schools or township schools).

Yet a quarter of these parents also said that “teachers at my children's school are often absent”.  This rose to over 30% among coloured parents and dropped to just under 20% among white parents.

Another disturbing finding was that 16% of parents’ (that is about one out of every six parents) said they “weren’t sure” if their children’s teachers were there or not (this was highest amongst parents with kids at township schools).  This lack of awareness of the teaching realities is concerning as it has been demonstrated that parental involvement at their children’s schools and with their education plays a critical role in the child’s success.

“Teachers in black state schools work an average of 3.5 hours a day, compared with 6.5 hours in the former white state schools known as ‘Model C’.  A fifth of teachers are absent on Fridays, rising to a third at the end of the month. The education minister herself admits that 80% of schools are still ‘dysfunctional’.” The Economist Jan 21st 2012.

While futurefact shows that the majority of adults believe their own education is better than the education their parents received, and there is no doubt that the younger generations are being exposed to more science, technology, maths and commercial subjects at school, it is the combination of teacher absenteeism and the quality of teaching that is eating away at the foundations of our education system.

futurefact has been surveying the attitudes and beliefs of South Africans since 1998.  The findings presented above are from futurefact 2012 which is based on a probability sample of 2,946 adults aged 15 years and over living in communities of more than 500 people throughout South Africa and representing 21.6 million adults.

If you would like to find out more about futurefact and its extensive attitudinal databases please contact Jos Kuper 082 904 9939 or check out www.futurefact.co.za