David Wylde, CEO of Penreach, said that learners would benefit from teacher training. “If you teach one teacher, you are impacting on so many learners,” he said, at the 2013 Think!Fest lecture series.
He also explained that parental support helps teachers by ensuring that they are not the only ones paying attention to a leaner’s progress. His organisation has started creating community council that are made up of parents and other community members to help support teachers and look after the school property.
He said that schools have always been conceived as three legged pots; the three legs being pupils, teacher and parents. In rural areas this is no longer the case. Schools include government and communities.
“In rural South Africa the school comes first,” said Wylde. “It is what holds society together.”
He said that the role of the teacher was even more fundamental in these schools than it is in schools that are situated in urban areas. What it means to be a teacher is not only defined by what is done in the classroom. “If you have a teacher who in his spare time is raping you then that person is not a teacher,” said Wylde.
He said that the first step towards fixing South Africa’s education system is for everyone to own the problem individually and to try and find solutions for it. “We have to stop being subjects and start being citizens,” said Wylde.
The overcrowding in classrooms makes it difficult for teachers to know their learners at an intimate level. “In schools where there are 70 and more learners in a classroom it is difficult to make an impact on learners that you do not even know,” said Wylde. “Knowing your learners personally helps one to become a better teacher.”
He said that resources that could be used for building schools are used on other projects. “It struck me at that if we know how to build a stadium why can’t we build a school,” said Wylde.
He said that more qualified teachers are required in South Africa. “We should invite teachers from other countries to teach at our schools,” said Wylde.
Wylde explained that the South African education system still has a long way to go compared to other countries. “For the kind that cannot learn by listening and can only learn by watching, we are not there yet,” he said.
“If we get the education right, we get it all right,” said Wylde.
Click on the following link to listen to his lecture: David Wylde