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Jonathan Jansen: Bureaucracy is Breaking Our Young Doctors, Nurses and Teachers

How to Fix South Africa's SchoolsJonathan Jansen, co-author of How to Fix South Africa’s Schools: Lessons from Schools that Work, believes the government needs to take a long, hard look at the treatment of young professionals in nursing, medicine, teaching and social work.

Jansen, who is rector of University of the Free State, says he frequently hears stories about how young people in those professions, after leaving their tertiary institutions with stars in their eyes, become overworked and jaded in a very short period of time, and even decided to leave their jobs in desperation.

According to Jansen, it is not the nature of the jobs that is the problem, but “bureaucracy” and “the culture of laziness”.

So what can be done about this? I think government needs to make the revitalisation of the public sector – hospitals, schools, social work departments, among others – a major priority for the next five years. The appointment of strong public-sector leadership selected on the basis of administrative and management competence, not political ties, would be a strong starting point.

Either that, or we lose our most talented and enthusiastic young graduates to the private sector and to other countries while we remain stuck with moribund hospitals, schools and government departments.

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