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Remarks by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs. Angie Motshekga, MP, Delivered on the Occasion of the MPC Schools Challenge at the SARB Conference Centre, Pretoria, 16 August 2019

Programme Director

Reserve Bank Governor, Mr Lesetja Kganyago

Deputy Governors of the Reserve Bank

Members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

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

Distinguished Guests

Members of the Media

Ladies and gentlemen

It is indeed a singular honour and privilege for me to be here with all of you as we gather to announce the winners of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Schools Challenge for 2019.  

The Reserve Bank of South Africa is arguably one of the best run internationally. We salute the women and men at the helm of this bank, because truly, it’s the pride of our nation.

The fundamental role of the Reserve Bank in our locality as enshrined in our Constitution is to achieve and maintain price stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth in South Africa.

The Reserve Bank is our last line of defence in good times and bad times when it comes to the matters of inflation and economic stability. 

The idea of this programme (Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Schools Challenge) apart from its intellectual and academic benefits is help young people to free their potential, to ignite within them the will to win, and the desire to succeed. These are innate qualities of successful people.  

We need more programmes that teach while they inculcate the habit of winning. We need competitions that teach team work while affirming individual excellence. 

I am of a firm view that anybody who participates in this completion is in some way a winner because no one leaves without learning a great deal.

In his book, titled ‘Seven Habits of Successful People’ John Maxwell make a valid point that:  ‘crossing the finish line is great, but what about the journey it took to get there? Be grateful for the process because it’s part of your life; you grew during this process. You learned something through the process. Be mindful of what you learn on the way to that glorious ‘finish line.’

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 2019 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, and merit or distinction. 

To the eventual winners, as one clergyman famously put it: ‘The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it's a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.’

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 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.

As the Chinese proverb goes:  “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and 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 today.

On behalf of the basic education 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.  

Just like last year, I must repeat that I remain optimistic that the Reserve Bank will come to the party and assist us in the area of teacher development in these critical subjects.

In conclusion, I say, ‘the world is your oyster,’ as Shakespeare once famously opined.

I thank all participants: You’re our brightest stars. Just never tire to shine, inculcate inside you the will to succeed, it will build resilience and a desire to shine will be ingrained into system, and rest as they say is economics not history.  

I thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 8/19/2019
Number of Views: 220

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