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Bheki Dlamini
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Private or public school? The benefits of being self-taught!

23 May 2014, 07:27
I heard a lot about education this week, specifically the debate about the contributions of private schools. I couldn’t relate with what the callers to my favourite radio station were saying, I didn’t get the privilege of attending a private school. The debate, nonetheless, reminded me about my time back at school.

Having established a small charity, dressing destitute learners from my previous school, I have managed to maintain a healthy relationship with the school, my former teachers and former colleagues. Every time that I visit the school, I am reminded of the rebellious way that we behaved in matric.

We were every teacher’s worst nightmare and we weren’t ashamed of our behaviour. I vividly remember the day that we locked one of our teachers out of the classroom because we didn’t feel like being taught by her that day…. I will probably get in trouble for sharing this but that was a long time ago.

You see, we were always a few chapters ahead of the teachers, and in some instances we had already completed the syllabus and were busy revising when the teachers were still halfway there. Now that I think about it, it must have been pretty frustrating for our dear teachers.

Our class had a number of students that were really good teachers, one of them is now a lecturer at UCT. Our objective was to outcompete the former model C schools, and that we did very well, to some extent. We wanted to prove that a township school could produce exceptional results. We also wanted a better life, a way out of the circumstances that enslaved our parents.

It’s the way we did it that got us into trouble. Our teachers disliked the manner in which we carried ourselves but they were always happy with the results. Outside of the classroom we were the ideal representation of a disciplined class, from how we wore our uniforms to the contribution towards ensuring the wellbeing of our fellow students. It was remarkable, even if I have to say so myself.

I have seen a similar trait on my young brother who is completing his secondary schooling this year. Having performed dismally 2 years ago, he sprung back into action and made it onto the school’s top 10 list. He has already got a bursary with guaranteed employment, and the year is not even halfway there. I always say to him: “you are my source of inspiration”, and he really is.

I have always been a fan of self-education. Everything I know today is self-taught, from computing to environmental management, photography to videography. I wanted to go to varsity but my great gran instilled entrepreneurship in my mind when I was just 8. She then wished that I became a teacher; a wish that I accidentally fulfilled a few years after passing my matric. 

Our education system is not the best but with the right attitude the same system can be exploited to produce future leaders. I know so because my young brother has shown me this. His achievement to date is only a reflection of dedication and hard work that he has put into his studies.

He managed to pace himself and rise above the “flawed” system. And every time that I look at him, I am overwhelmed with joy.

Whether it’s a private school or a school in the depths of a township, without the learner’s dedication the outcome will be anything but impressive.

I say thank you Tswasongu Secondary School for giving me the opportunity that you have afforded me and for going the extra mile and rescuing me from what could have robbed me of a future.

This article just made me realise just how much I love the subject of education. I hope my training bootcamps will improve the lives of the many that want to compete in the tech world.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your weekend!
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