Plea to maintain ‘historic’ schools in SA

2012-10-10 00:00

EDUCATION is in deep crisis in South Africa, according to Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane, and there has got to be a turnaround.

Ndungane said this during his visit to two “historic” schools, Inanda Seminary and Adams College, near Durban yesterday.

He said little has been achieved since the advent of democracy.

“Trevor Manuel’s development programme report says that education is key and by 2030 something should give. But if you think it’s now 18 years to 2030 and you recall what we’ve done 18 years back, it means there’s a tremendous challenge,” he said.

Ndungane, an executive director of the Historic Schools Restoration Project (HSRP) said the re-classification of the “historic” schools as “academies” with a focus on Maths, Science and Technology, would be the first step to remedy the education system.

By academies, Ndungane said the schools would be publicly funded, while they maintained their management autonomy.

Historic schools were established in the 19th centuries by mission churches to educate black South Africans who were denied quality education due to racial segregation.

In 2007, the former minister of Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordaan, requested Ndungane to champion the project.

The aim is to restore these schools to their former glory as centres of education and cultural excellence.

Five schools in KZN have been picked out of 11 across the country, namely Adams College, Inanda Seminary, Inkamana High School, Ohlange High School, and Vryheid Comprehensive High School.

The Department of Education gives HSRP operational funding of R6 million a year for three years to run the project. The project also relies on donations.

But it’s still not enough.

The 143-year-old Inanda Seminary’s principal, Judy Tate, said they are trying to get more government funding. “As costs go up, our fees go up and we’re anxious to ask parents for more and more.”

ANCs national chairperson Baleka Mbete and the late Manto Tshabalala-Msimang are some of the school’s alumni. A number of other figures in the country who went on to influence the history and political life of SA came from these schools.

Ndungane told reporters that the Healdtown College in the Eastern Cape, where former President Nelson Mandela attended, was reduced to ashes in 1976 during the student uprising. He said the college needs more financial support.

Adams College principal, Thulani Khumalo, said his 172-year-old school is in need of more classrooms because the school is in demand in the area.

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