Tuesday, January 20, 2009

20 January - Human Rights

In today's show ,we were joined by Mapeete Mohale – from the South African Institute of Race Relations and David Miller – Chairperson of NAPTOSA. We were talking about the matric pass rate. The South African Institute of Race Relations has speculated that the effective matric pass rate is far lower than the 62.5% cited by the minister of education, Ms Naledi Pandor. Information from the Institute’s South Africa Survey shows that in 2007, there were 920 716 pupils in Grade 11. Of those only 64% went on to write their matric examinations in 2008. Of these only 333 681 or 36.2% of the original 2007 cohort passed matric in 2008. According to the Institute’s deputy CEO, Frans Cronje, ‘This figure of 36.2% is a more accurate reflection of the real effective matric pass rate than the 62.5% cited by the minister’. According to Cronje, ‘The low pass rates, the low throughput rates, and the low rates of university entry passes are perhaps now the greatest single crisis facing South Africa. He says South Africa will not become a successful industrialised economy if the education authorities continue to produce such inadequate results. Our attempts to get a comment from the department of education failed, Lunga Ngqengelele – education spokesperson said his department needs to look at the report first and they will respond after going through it.

We heard from Dr Joelien Pretorius – a political analyst from the University of the Western Cape. Like the rest of the world we were focusing on the inauguration of President – Elect Barack Obama. We touched on the expectations and the challenges that the new President will face as he makes history as a first African-American man to occupy the White House. Looking at the economic crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, instability in the Middle East, the list is endless. Well According to Dennis Simon, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University Obama has "the credibility and the political capital" for success. We wish him all the best for the future and in his daughter Malia’s words, “First African-American president better be good”.

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