Despite the controversy surrounding the Department of Basic Education recently, the state of the country's education system made the top of the priority list for a group of ordinary South Africans brought together by Argo: a local media company working in the youth and education sectors.
Although the government has allocated R200 billion to spend on education in 2012; and almost R6 billion is pledged by the private sector annually, 87% of South African schools are considered "dysfunctional" according to the National Planning Commission.
With 440 000 educators having to serve 12.6 million learners currently in the system, it's clear that it's time for solutions.
One of the solutions presented in the panel discussion - which took place on 4 July 2012 - consisting of reps from various stake holders in education, including the likes of PWC's Dr Barbara Holtmann, Joy Olivier of IkamvaYouth, and Marianne Scott from the National Business Initiative; is collaboration.
As illuminated in the discussion, it is up to all stakeholders (learners, educators, headmasters, parents, community leaders, district managers, government and private business) to take some form of responsibility and make a collaborative effort for the improvement of education through a solid plan.
"Achieving quality education for all, not just some of us. By working together, we can achieve this challenge. If we could do it for the game of soccer, we believe we can do it for something much more important: our future" - one of the guiding principles for the process of collaboration.
The business world has a strong responsibility in the area of education. Not only to be seen as to exist in CSI scope, but as head of Channel Marketing and CSI of Capitec Bank Sibusiso Kumalo puts it, "South Africa's progress depends heavily on our ability to create jobs and opportunities for young people", adding that it's almost impossible at this stage to find people to give jobs to even when there are jobs to be had.
A long standing education initiative is the Pick n Pay School Club Programme which is facilitated by youth specialists HDI Youth Marketeers
, and is involved in the education of over 2500 schools annually.
In 2003, the Pick n Pay School Club was introduced to help uplift the state of education in South Africa. The intervention, if anything, is more necessary now. Even though the private sector spends R6-billion on education per annum, help is needed. We have 25 000-odd schools, but, currently, only about 50% of the learners who enter Grade 1 eventually matriculate. And increasingly business is battling to find capable literate, numerate employees.
"The 2025 aim is to shift pull-through from Grades 1-12 from 50% to 90%. We want to be part of achieving that, and we want the brands who help do it to win favour and loyalty from youth." - Jason Levin, MD, HDI Youth Marketeers.
Plainly put, at the end of the day it's all about achieving results. The bottom line is making sure that our matrics leave school having received a complete education. Aptly described by Olivier (InkamvaYouth) as "successfully having learned how to learn."