The National Council of the IFP at its meeting in Ulundi on January 16/17, 1999 resolved to express its concern at the recent matriculation results revealing a pass rate of 50,3% in the Province. It is the view of this Council that students have failed and that our national education system has failed them.
It is not correct or fair to apportion blame to the Province of KwaZulu Natal when the reality is that its education department has less power and less autonomy than the erstwhile KwaZulu Government had under the stranglehold of apartheid and when exam results were far higher.
The education system in KwaZulu Natal is the largest in the country and yet it has suffered chronic under-funding for decades – first by the National Party Government and now by allocations from the ANC-led government. In KwaZulu Natal the 1998/1999 expenditure of R2,406 per learner is lower than in any other Province.
KwaZulu Natal Education Minister, Dr VT Zulu, has repeatedly reported to the national government that education in KwaZulu Natal is under-funded by nearly R2 billion annually.
This tragedy in the lives of our children, their parents and dedicated educators in the Province is a consequence of many factors, including the reality that the Province has been deprived of political power to run its education department as it would wish to do, and has been burdened by the crippling imposition of national policies, norms, standards and programmes in a virtual financial vacuum.
The IFP will continue to fight for the devolution of the powers of policy formulation to Provinces in this regard, as we are convinced that the top-down “big brother”, socialist, centrist control of the ANC will continue to cripple excellence in education throughout our country. The KwaZulu Natal government is determined, in spite of the many factors hampering progress beyond its control, to demand a radically improved performance from its education department officials, dedication and responsibility from its teachers, commitment and discipline from our learners and the genuine involvement of parents in their children’s educational and moral and spiritual development.