I recently visited Mdantsane on a program to work with educators on improving the schools Mathematics and Science results. Mdantsane is situated between King Williams Town and East London. It is part of Buffalo city municipality.
The original inhabitants of Mdantsane were indigenous people who were forcibly removed from East London’s multiracial suburbs in the 1960s during the height of apartheid. A dearth of employment followed, since the nearest city was too far to traverse by foot, and public transport was too expensive for most. (Source :http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/articles/entry/article-southafrica.net-mdantsane-east-london)
Mdantsane shopping was noteable and not very far from the schools I visited. It was on Friday midday and one would expect the busyness of such a township. Men and women were queuing towards a small lit room mat the mall. I am assuming that it was collection of Money transfers from Gauteng or SASSA payments. My assumptions could be off the mark.
What is the state of development in the area. I wondered what would be the future of the kids in the area. The few companies that I know are based in East London. They are either Auto Manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz South Africa or a supply. With a knowledge that the world is moving away from highly labour intensive employment to the use of robots and technology. Will the kids born and grow in Mdantsane be employable at these companies. Only if they have the education and proficiency to solve complex problems required by the 21st Century companies.
Matric 2014 pass rate 75.8% according to the minister of education. The Eastern Cape is behind all provinces. The report does not detail the state of Mathematics and Science at public schools. Dissapointly the pass rate is 30%. The pass rate for mathematics fell from 59.1% last year to 53.5% for 2014.
Statistics aside, will the children of Mdantsane be employable in East London companied. The state of affairs does not indicate so. This is unless there is an intervention by companies in the area.
It emerges that kids do not have basic mathematics proficiency. They cannot manupulate addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to the level required for the grades. Worse is that teachers could be in the same situation. In summary it is a crisis. Bobby Godsell once said one must never talk about the problem if you do not talk about the situation.
What am I doing about this. Ask me this time next year.