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By Fanyana Mabuza THE SWAZI OBSERVER-08-Aug-2009

In a strange twist of events the newly introduced IGCSE and HIGCSE education syllabus received resounding support from educators who had gathered for the launch of the ‘Right to Know’ and ‘Right to Education’ programme launch at the Mountain Inn on Friday

The project seeks to empower stakeholders outside the ‘classroom’ like parents to have more say in the way their children are educated and is supported by a South African based organisation, Idasa.

Speaker after speaker lauded the newly introduced system, which replaces the O’Level syllabus in the country, saying it was one of the best things to happen to the country’s education system. They said it was one system that enables learners to be proactive unlike sitting down and listening to one person behind a blackboard.

They mentioned that the local press had, out of ignorance, taken the syllabus out of context and went further to publish damning reports, some to the effect that South Africa institutions of higher education would not accept local pupils with this qualification. Former Principal of St Mark’s High school Marjorie Ballarin heaped praises to the new system saying it allowed students to take charge of their education and uyltimately their destiny, unlike in the past where teachers stood in front of the classroom while spoon feeding the pupils without allowing them to take charge of their own learning. “The system forces pupils to read and at times be ahead of the teacher who merely plays a facilitating role. In this way, children are fine tuned into thinking critically while thoroughly reading to provide answers themselves, unlike being spoon-fed by a teacher,” she said. She mentioned that she was dismayed by the negative reports surrounding such a syllabus, adding that even though she was no longer a teacher, but had educational interests at heart, and was current sitting on the Board of Governors of the Waterford KaMhlaba United World College whom she said used such a system. Waterford KaMhlaba ia among the most decorated educational institutes in the country, an indication that if the system could work for this college, then it was the way to go for schools in the country.

Other speakers mentioned that the syllabus was ‘rubbished’ by a negative press which was all out to trash the system before it even took root in the country.

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