'No repeat policy at foundation phase would have dire consequences for society'

Young children could soon pass through their foundation phase at school without repeating a grade if they fall short of the required standard.

The Basic Education Department has a new '"learner progression" plan in place which would mean automatic progression each year from Grade R through to Grade 3.

Education experts seem divided on the benefits of this policy, although there seems to be general consensus that the standard of education needs to be addressed.

Read: Don't get distracted - govt has failed to fix SA schools, says Equal Education

At the moment, pupils cannot repeat a phase more than once.

Creative parenting expert, Nikki Bush warns of far-reaching consequences if a "no repeat" policy is introduced.

If a child has not acquired the necessary skills, they will still be progressed through the system.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Unfortunately, this has dire consequences for the child and the teacher and society as a whole.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

If you think about a wall... if it is missing certain bricks in the foundation... ultimately, that wall will fall down.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Bush says the department is quoting unnamed experts who believe there is a direct link between holding children back in the foundation phase, and the dropout rate later in high school.

Because the ramifications are so serious, she feels, the proposed policy needs far more thought before it can be implemented.

It's not just painful for the children, it's painful for the teachers. If you start digging into this issue right now and reading what foundation phase teachers have to say about the possibility of this policy being passed, they want to weep for the children.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

A caller by the name of Faith agreed with Bush and questioned the standard of school education in general.

I feel the education system is failing us as parents, and the children. We get those piles of homework... What are they actually doing at school?

Faith, Caller

Children are falling victim to a system that is very, very broken.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

We need children who are literate, we need children who have numeracy skills... Maybe it's about deciding what kind of country we want to be.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Phemelo ended the discussion by urging listeners to keep a watch for new developments on the "no repeat" policy mooted by the Education Department.

You need to keep your ears to the ground - this is a piece of legislation you need to add your voice to.

Phemelo Motene, Presenter - 702 Weekend Breakfast

For more of this important conversation, listen below:


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