Focus on early childhood education, says Dugmore

Capabilities, leadership and active citizenship. These are three of the key concepts that need to be focused on for the development of South Africa’s education and democracy.

These were the sentiments expressed by ANC Member for the Western Cape Provincial Parliament Cameron Dugmore, who recently spoke to the BA Honours class at the Stellenbosch University Department of Journalism. His visit was part of the department’s initiative to regularly invite guest speakers from the media and other industries to address the honours class.

He presented some of the key aspects of the National Development Plan (NDP) before engaging the class on how the NDP plans to address the education crisis in South Africa.

Addressing the class on what the National Development Plan says about education development Dugmore said: “Whether you are talking about capabilities in your leadership of your municipalities, capabilities of the school principal, capabilities of those leading our colleges and our universities, the first pillar of development is capacity building.”

Capabilities, leadership and active citizenship: Former special adviser to the Minister in Presidency for National Planning Cameron Dugmore during his recent address to the Journalism Honours class. PHOTO: Aydn Parrott

Outlining the key pillars of change he said that the second is leadership. Dugmore emphasized the need for leadership that does not undermine participatory and inclusive leadership

“Whether you are talking about the leadership of this faculty, whether you are talking about the leadership of a school, a governing body, a community police forum. We need a leadership that is capable, that is accountable.”

The third and final pillar of change he said is active citizenship. He noted that “mobilising our community and our society around these [NDP] goals is going to require active citizens” saying that this is “a very strong point in the National Development Plan”. Dugmore said it was essential that there be vocal participation and that, “especially voices that have not been historically heard in our social and established media” be heard.

Addressing the question of the higher education fees crises directly he said that the “NDP does not specifically propose free education for all at higher education level.”

He said that although one of the very specific proposals being made is that the country’s focus be on accessibility to higher education he said that the NPD proposed an incremental approach, “starting from early education, to basic education to further education to higher education”. He said that there has been “very little debate about the inputs required before children get to higher education”. – Aydn Parrott