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SA education is in crisis - Jansen

Jonathan Jansen says low academic standards are contributing to the failure of SA's education system.

Prof Jonathan Jansen. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - University of the Free State (UFS) Vice-Chancellor and Rector Professor Jonathan Jansen believes low academic standards are contributing to the failure of South Africa's education system.

He believes raising academic standards and levels of human decency are crucial to improving the country's future.

Jansen said education is in disarray.

"We have a very serious problem with our examination standards at both primary and high school. We also have a collapse of moral standards in society in general."

He believes if the bar is set high, students will raise their standards.

Jansen said the UFS worked with 25 of the worst performing schools in that province.

Mentors worked with teachers and matric pass rates in those schools improved significantly.

"Everybody knows when 500,000 kids drop out between grade one and grade 12, there is a serious crisis. We also know that pupils get distinctions in grade 12, but fail the first year [of university] dismally."

He said UFS has raised academic standards significantly.

Jansen believes the racial storm at the university in 2008 has long since passed.

Four white students filmed UFS employees on their knees eating food that had been urinated on.

Despite the fallout, Jansen believes it gave the tertiary institution a chance to discuss behaviour.

He said the UFS campus has become racially integrated.