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Does Maynier’s education adjustment budget speech give hope?

On 5 December 2022, minister Maynier delivered his adjustment budget speech at the Western Cape legislature. The purpose of the speech was to give hope to parents, teachers, and children. The minister attempts to give hope by “setting a bold new education agenda” of appointing more teachers, building more schools, and increasing the budget allocation by 0.07%.

The pandemic taught us how fragile the school system is. Fragile systems deteriorate during times of disruption, whereas anti-fragile systems thrive during such times. Closing schools for less than 3 months caused “severe learning losses” that “will have serious knock-on effects as these learners progress through their school careers.” This illustrates how fragile the school system is. However, throughout the pandemic, emerging education modalities such as home education, cottage schools, online schools, co-work spaces, tutor centres, etc. grew explosively, proving to be anti-fragile.

However, the lesson learned by the minister is that “schools matter, and that teachers matter.” His speech is all about bold efforts to repair the fragile school system, while not a word is spoken about creating a new legislative framework to make provision for emerging education modalities that have proven to be anti-fragile. The minister continues to support the national policy on home education; a policy drafted with the intent to deter parents from opting for home education.

It is unfortunate that the WCED's vision of quality education remains solely focused on the traditional school system and that it ignores the anti-fragile alternative education modalities.  Excluding resilient education from the vision and the budget of the WCED does not give hope in turbulent times. Should the next disaster strike while the school system is still recovering from the losses of the previous disaster, what is there to hope for?

 

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