South African Matric Results 2017

Christa Weidemann


Regio Centurion LogoThe South Affrican 2017 Matric Results were released this week.  With this in mind, I have asked long time teacher and current principal of Regio Centurion Independent Primary School (, Christa Weidemann, to give us some insights into the education system of South Africa.

Christa’s contact details are on Regio’s website, but if you like you can reach her on LinkedIn at – Christa’s LinkedIn Profile

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”

Is this what the South African Education System is giving our learners?? Unfortunately, the answer is no!  Schooling/teaching should deliver individuals who can adapt, innovate, be creative and above all think outside the box.
The future employment scene is going to change drastically.  Researchers predict that up to 80% of current employment opportunities will disappear. Employable individuals will be the ones who can innovate, create and adapt!
Our education system, to a large extend, focused on delivering individuals to whom mediocrity and conforming to the rules is the norm.  To think for yourself and think critically are often foreign concepts to today’s Matriculants. 

So where did it go wrong?

Every human being is born with the ability to excel! Gone are the days when it was believed a child is an empty mind that has to be filled with knowledge! NO a child is born with an unique set of pre-knowledge and a mind geared to learn as much as possible.

Teach to the individual, not to the curriculum”

And herein lies the problem! The CAPS (Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements) curriculum in itself is a wonderful baseline to start with, but has changed into the begin all and end all for the Education Department. [For more on the CAPS see these resources:;]

Every worksheet has to be completed, every concept has to be taught and every comma, full stop and so on MUST be done, ticked and filed, no matter whether the learner is where they should be or not.

The amount of worksheets and so that have to be completed is mind boggling! In other words, learners become robot like copiers of the work with no or very little understanding and internalising of knowledge. 

Gone is the inquisitive, lover of new experiences, to be replaced with a person that trusts and does what he/she is being told! [Please spare a thought for the poor teachers who are really trying to make a difference but who are so overloaded with work and pressure to get all the work prescribed by the curriculum, that they lose their enthusiasm and innovative thinking.]

How do we solve the problem

Firstly, parents must counteract the effect of the schools by keeping their children inquisitive, questioning human beings by taking them on outings, letting them play outside, taking part in a sporting activity, and above all, let them READ! 

Keep the use of electronic devices and games to the minimum, for research has shown that long hours on these devices acts like a drug on impressionable young minds.

Secondly, teachers should be trained well! Unfortunately, this is something that is going to take a some time, but as responsible citizens we must lobby for better training – be involved at your kids’ school and insist that only the best trained teachers are appointed.

Education in Finland

In Finland, which is considered to be have the highest achieving learners in the world, 

  • Classroom time is much less than is considered the norm in SA; 
  • Teachers are highly qualified (Masters Graduates in most cases) and also have a lighter workload than their South African counterparts;
  • Learners in Finnish schools have 10-20min break between periods/classes. In South Africa learners are in class from 8:00 – 13:00/14:00 with maybe a 20min and 10min break during the whole school day. 
  • Learners aren’t assessed with written tests all the time as is the norm here in SA.

The top education systems of the world, in no particular order, are considered to be:

  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • Finland
  • UK
  • Canada
  • Netherlands

6 Problems with our School System

Christa shares this video to reinforce the point she is making


Christa finishes off by saying:

We must move away from the emphasis on high academic achievements and focus on the holistic outcome of schooling which is going to deliver a happier and more ‘in tune’ individual with the ability to be a outstanding citizen who will be able to make a positive contribution to society.

To see some see some statistics abouth the education in South Africa visit or

Related articles:
See Education in SA: A tale of two systems by Nic Spaull

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