By Sibusiso Samantungwa
At 34-years-old, Professor Thabo Msibi holds the honour of being the youngest Dean in the South Africa.
Msibi has been appointed the Dean and Head of School of Education at the University of KwaZulu Natal.
He obtained a Bachelor of Education Honours at UKZN before qualifying for a Master of Education from Columbia University and a PhD from the University of Cambridge.
The 34-year-old speaking to Newswatch, he said there is a big task on his shoulders.
“It is exciting but also equally frightening. It comes with a huge responsibility. Education in South Africa is in dire need of a serious resuscitation project. As you have seen in the number of people that do not have access to higher education. Things are looking very grim so there is frustration on my part that the education system is not where it should be,” he said.
Msibi has spoken about the province’s matric pass rate – an issue within the education sector that he feels needs more attention.
“I am very critical of our focus on the matric pass rate for the simple reason that matric does not determine one’s success in life. In many ways, it is about a test whether someone can regurgitate information and what level they can do so. It does not encourage critical thinking.
I am cautious to use a frame of reference of matric results because they do not tell us about the nature of our students and their abilities. It is concerning that the standard or quality of our matric is not at the right level, and the type of teaching that our children receive in schools is not up to par.
“There have been several studies that show that a number of teachers fail the tests that are given to students to write. There is a lot of professional development that needs to happen and universities are in a privileged position to inform that professional development,” he said.