Reserve Bank Governor, Mr Lesetja Kganyago
Deputy Governors of the Reserve Bank
Members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)
Mr Panyaza Lesufi, MEC for Education in Gauteng
Leadership of Organised Labour
Leadership of the School Governing Body Associations
Ms Ella Mokgalane, Acting CEO of the SACE
Mr Godwin Khosa: CEO of the NECT
Senior management from the Reserve Bank, DBE and GDE
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen
Programme Director, we are gathered here tonight to announce the winners of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Schools Challenge. From the onset, I must congratulate all participating schools and learners. I must stress that winning is not everything, but the effort to win is. The programme was conceptualised with an understanding of the immense need to improve financial and economic literacy among our young people. I believe that the 2017 MPC Challenge has been a huge success in this regard. Thus all teams that took part in the Monetary Policy Challenge will receive certificates for participation, merit or distinction.
In a broader scheme of things the MPC Challenge inspires young people to understand the role of economics in the day-to-day lives of the people. We hope all of you are inspired enough to take up a career in economics.
However, members of the winning team will also have their names put forward to receive South African Reserve Bank bursaries. Should they go on to meet the criteria to be awarded a Reserve Bank bursary, the full costs of their undergraduate degree (up to R75 000 per year), including tuition, accommodation, books and sundries, will be paid for. We heartily thank the Reserve Bank for having the courage of their own conviction - picking up the cudgels and growing its own timber.
We in the basic education sector value role-play pedagogy because it foregrounds critical thinking which is essential to academic literacy. Some researchers have touted role-play pedagogy as a means of increasing students’ motivation, engagement, and confidence (Ladousse, 1987). They also argue that it facilitates a deeper and more critical understanding of course material. Role-play can be used to help students engage critically with course material, taking into account “deep meanings, personal implications, and social consequences” (Shor, 1992, p. 169). Critical role-play requires students to embody voices and perspectives that may be quite different from their own. It asks them to speak and write using discourse that may be unfamiliar. It encourages them to explore relationships among people, texts, and contexts. Critical role-play, therefore, is both cognitively and linguistically challenging.
Programme Director; in our case learners were indeed challenged and taken out of their comfort zones. And, they can bear testimony to the fact that after this exercise they have benefitted both intellectually, and cognitively. The MPC Challenge allowed learners to simulate a scenario by assuming specific roles. In this challenge learners simulated the Reserve Bank’s process of making an interest rate decision by the MPC. The importance of this Reserve Bank MPC Challenge is that it helps learners to stimulate their imagination thus inculcating the culture of intellectual inquiry. Role-playing in itself enhances learners social development, encourages friendship through cooperation, team work and listening skills. The process of simulating builds skills in many essential developmental areas but most importantly it builds one’s self-esteem.
Essentially the MPC Challenge embeds key pedagogical principles of role-play and gives learners learning opportunities such as:
- To give learners the opportunity to practice a situation that they might encounter in their careers or personal lives;
- To help learners gain empathy for others (culturally, historically);
- To allow learners to see how they react to a situation "in the moment";
- To change attitudes and/or behaviours;
- To enable learners to experience a different perspective and think creatively.
A Chinese proverb states: Tell me, I’ll forget; Show me, I’ll remember Involve me, I’ll understand.
Today, we have five winners who understand clearly what this important institution does in the greater scheme of macro-economic policy. Hundreds more participated and in the process enhanced their understanding of how economics as a subject fit in in the real life situation. Hence, there are no losers tonight.
On behalf of the sector, we extend our gratitude to all economics teachers and learners for taking part in this challenge. We reiterate our gratitude to the Reserve Bank for choosing our sector for this important challenge. I am particularly pleased that this challenge will cover all provinces by 2018.
In conclusion, I must restate the primary function of the Reserve Bank which is to protect the value of South Africa's currency.
In discharging this role, it takes responsibility for:
- Ensuring that the South African money, banking and financial system as a whole is sound, meets the requirements of the community and keeps abreast of international developments;
- Assisting the South African government, as well as other members of the economic community of southern Africa, with data relevant to the formulation and implementation of macroeconomic policy; and
- Informing the South African community and all stakeholders abroad about monetary policy and the South African economic situation.
This mandate of the bank emanates directly from the Constitution. It is what South Africans must bear in mind as they navigate whether private individuals should be allowed to own shares or not. Any change of share ownership status of the bank must no alter/change or dilute the primary mandate of the bank. The future of the banking sector, our robust financial system, our currency and certainty around macroeconomic policy depends on the existence of this vibrant and independent Reserve Bank of South Africa.
Thus, we salute all former and present post-apartheid Governors and their Deputies for having been true to the mandate of this bank.
I thank you.