Just the other day, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was lamenting the fact that, after 18 years of democracy, some children still have classes under the trees.
Tutu said he was sure the former president (Mandela) was not aware of the education situation in SA.
“If he knew what was happening he would be crying... it's totally unacceptable.”
On the 18th of July, 702 Talk Radio and LEAD SA celebrated *Mandela’s legacy by offering 67 minutes of community service on his birthday. Each 702 each presenter adopted a school and visited the school to establish specific requirements.
This formed part of the LEAD SA Mandela Day schools project which Primedia Broadcasting and the Independent Group of Newspapers were **spearheading.
Painting the perimeter fences and classrooms, planting trees, cleaning the storerooms, garden makeovers, scrubbing the classrooms, referencing and sorting Library books, and cleaning out the recycling areas – everything was planned.
702 Talk Radio called upon painters and landscapers/gardeners to help at the schools. They also needed plumbers for the repair of ablution blocks and toilets.
Most of the schools were in a sorry state of disrepair – broken windows and ceilings; dilapidated chairs, desks, and furniture; classroom doors that were broken off their hinges; weed-overgrown playgrounds; smashed blackboards; ripped-out electrical wiring in classrooms; filthy, waterless, paperless toilets which have been irreparably vandalized, etc, etc. You get the picture.
So, on the 18th of July, the do-gooders stepped in and fixed the schools. Individuals, groups, and companies joined in and assisted with the project. People gave freely of their time and money. Everyone was happy.
But now, just three months later, we’re back to square one – most of the schools are stuffed up again – because of vandalism. And no one cares.
I want to get to the reason I am writing this story – but first let me tell you something of my schooldays.
In my school, when windows, doors, or furniture were broken, there was hell to pay. The guilty party was soon tracked down, his backside warmed up, his parents informed of the cost of the damage – and the repairs were promptly done.
Toilets were clean, hygienic, and in a good state of repair. No one did affirmative shopping of the toilet paper.
Our playground was well maintained, clean, and free of weeds and litter.
We had discipline. Our teachers were competent, qualified, and committed.
In short: We were proud of our school.
So what has changed?
First, and foremost, the quality of the teachers: They are mostly ill-disciplined, unqualified, and lack commitment, devotion, and loyalty to the children.
Secondly, the failure of the Department of Education to implement effective curricula – constant changes of the system, lowering standards, and trying to make Outcomes Based Education (OBE) work.
Lastly, the current crop of ***lennas. Their parents never had any respect for schools or education.
But, and this is the crux of the matter, the children nowadays have very little respect for their schools, teachers, or themselves. You may well ask: “Why would these kids trash their places of learning?”
I’ll tell you.
Because their parents have set the example. That’s why.
So here’s my solution to the problem: Let Tutu lament, let Mandela cry – but put these vandals, along with their teachers, back under the trees. That’s where they belong.
At least they won’t be able to vandalize anything there.
*Mandela’s legacy – a failed state; run by incompetent, corrupt, communists, and criminals
**spearheading – also known as “showerheading”
***lennas – consisting mostly of “vandals”