We’re a country that still seems to be really battling with finding its feet in delivering equal and quality education to children. I am talking about the country South Africa. A lot of other countries in the African continent are still lagging behind when it comes to their education systems, but in this instance my main concern is South Africa.
We all know about the whole saga of books still not being delivered even though exams are approaching in less than a month. It’s been talked about and speculated to death. No matter how we try to engage with the matter, it has become rather pointless. I’m concerned though, about the inequality in the education system that this whole matter has sort of expose. We’ve known for so long about such things, but I guess we still lacked or didn’t have any proven case in which to ground our debate.
This is not another black or white story and the ongoing phenomenon of racism and what not. It’s about urban and rural schools and the very large gap that still seem to appear between them. The question then becomes; Why? Education prior to democracy was rather very unfair in particular to schools in the townships and rural areas. We had somebody to blame, right? And it became so easy to point fingers to a white man and direct all out cries on the unmerciful apartheid system.
We’re past that now. We are ‘equal’ democratically and that is meant to place us in some form of an advantageous world, but that’s not what is happening. Black education minister, democratically voted ruling party and we’re still as unsatisfied as we could have ever been. It’s always something. If we’re not complaining about some street lights that are not working, we’re on about e-tolling and what not. My point is, the post-apartheid government has not really delivered as it had been expected to.
There are a lot of gaps everywhere that the government is still working to ‘close’ in the National Development Plan 2030, but honestly speaking Education should not even be amongst them. In a country that saw the youth of 1976 dying and sacrificing their time and lives to the struggle for better education, it’s quite inexcusable to be faced with the major challenges that are facing education.
Although there is a large amount of money that goes into education in the government’s budget, it appears that it doesn’t really go as far. If it’s not faulty classrooms (or no classrooms at all for that matter), it’s the lack of dedicated teachers and sky high failure rates. It seems even though so much is being economically invested, somewhere along the line there are just too many errors and the whole process is not delivering through.
This whole thing raises too many unanswered questions about our leaders from national all the way to municipal levels. Inasmuch as our national leader may be corrupt and what not, the people at the bottom are not saints either. Financial reports of many municipalities appear to be very unclear when ever audits had been done and this stirs up so many questions on how money is spent in government.
To think however that a pupil in Limpopo or whatever other place that had not received books is to receive their textbook only a few weeks before the final exam is quite shameful. And these learners are expected to pass at the end of the day. It’s really sad because the very people who are meant to protecting the right of children to education are the ones carrying guns in the form of incompetence and violating those same rights.
With apartheid out of the picture, who are we to blame really for the epic fail of our education system? A lot still needs to be fixed, especially if the country is serious about working towards development and growth, mostly in rural areas.
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