September 1946-January 1947 Martin Luther King Jr addressed at the Atlanta, Ga.The following text is extracted from the writings of the Martin Lutherking in Volume 1 book “Called to serve” edited by Clayborne Carson. Later in this I should also share what former President of USA Ronald Reagan said about the standards in Education in 1976. I found it relevant to share with you since these days’ people have a tendency to confuse schooling with education; going to school every day does not necessarily mean we are learning every day. Our education system has since prioritised quantity over quality; we are obsessed with results the learners get rather than the competency we should be getting out of education. Today in 2013, the following text of 1947 is still relevant in challenging the kind of education system we have in South Africa. World Economic forum 2013-2014 in the Quality of Primary Education out of 148 countries South Africa occupied 133 position and in the Quality of Science and Maths South Africa ranked 148 out of 148.As the education student it is always my aspiration to have be counted among the best countries in Education, only if the true fundamentals of learning are implemented. Then you can read the extract:
Martin Luther King Jr said “Education must enable a man to become more efficient; to achieve with increasingly facility the legitimate goals of his life. Education should discipline the mind for sustained and persistent speculation. On the other hand it should integrate human life around, forcusing ideals. Education should equip us with the power to think effectively and objectively. To think is one of the hardest things in the world, and to think objectively is still harder. Yet this is the job of education. Education should cause us to rise beyond the horizons of legions of half-truth, prejudices and propaganda. Education should enable us to “weigh and consider” to discern the true from false, the relevant from irrelevant, and the real from the unreal. It is not enough to know the truth, but we must love the truth and sacrifice for it”.
The above is very clear that the aim of education is develop competent human beings as the result of education, the aim is not to memorise, bank or store facts. The application, critical questioning and process of enquiry is the true achievement of education. When we interpret and articulate the facts that are the goal of education. We must phase out rote learning in schools and start challenging the kids to construct knowledge themselves. Being certificated does not mean the individual is educated.
The further quotation I recite is from former American President Ronald Reagan in 21 September 1976.He also was disturbed by the quality of education in USA at the time because the learners could pass but they were not competent.
Ronald Reagan about Education.
“Well however you define crisis we can at least agree that in the last 20 years the quality of education has declined by anyone standards. Money isn’t to blame how do we explain the drop in quality. Schools are demanding less and less from students and getting. I met young man 20 years age who had gone from Kindergarten through Grade12 and had his high school diploma to prove to it that he was educated. He is a functional illiterate, unable to read or write” alike a graduate “Neither is he mentally retarded or stupid. He’s just plain untaught”
Then Ronald Reagan further states he met a woman who said “Stop promoting my Son to the next grade just because he’s come to the end of the year. Make him stay in the grade he’s in until he’s learned what he’s supposed to know. One day they’ll hand him a diploma and he won’t even be able to read it”
Ronald Reagan further questioned “What happens to a young man or woman, who dons cap and gown, is handed a diploma as proud parents and friends applaud, who believe he has qualified to go into the job market and learns that he can’t even fill out the application for a job”.
I have selected the above two influential extracts from the two well-known personalities since I have come to have sleepless nights about the quality of education we have, especially in the townships. Please read and challenge me.
I study Education and I believe that I carry the task of making the quality education one day in my classroom. In the Alice Walker’s words “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.
South Africa can do better if as Ronald Reagan wrote “Curriculum must move from an emphasis on retention of facts to an emphasis on the process of inquiry, comparison, synthesis and interpretation”.
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