LETTER: Active citizenry is the solution to education

2017-04-13 06:01

The opinion by Thembile Ndabeni(“Its dangerous to let the constitution dictate”, City Vision, 30 March 2017) refers.

I was touched by its contents.

He talked of various interesting aspects that we as a nation should look at, however, I wish to share my own take on the issues raised.

Bantu Education which later evolved to Education and Training was designed to deny meaningful and technical skills for Blacks, and forever turned us into dependents, so there was nothing good about it.

Look at our high unemployment rate, at 26%, with more than half of this being the youth, who possess no skills at all.

We have a national crisis. Interestingly, more than 50% of the Members of Parliament are former educators from the ranks of Sadtu, who used the opportunity to get to Parliament.

With that high numbers of educators warming the benches of parliament, one would have hoped that our education system was going to improve.

Despite all this the majority of the current crop of parents with no skills depend on hand-outs in the form of grants and some of them have not even reached Grade 12.

Why don’t we make it the teacher’s responsibility to spend more time with the students so they can comprehend the subject matter.

My parent was more supportive in my education, she would visit our schools without notice and ask the principal and our teachers about our behaviour and she would make sure we did our homework.

She would also provide me with necessities but was never expected to do my homework.

In the last 20 years we have changed our education system three times because we don’t know what our country requires in terms of skills.

In fact the education system we have is not even helping the majority and still does not address the needs of the country.

If you are really serious about “radical economic transformation” you should start with our education.

I have served as an SGB member in two schools in Khayelitsha and was recently co-opted to another.

I have realised that there is a lack of capacity building in those parents serving in these bodies, no wonder they are easy to manipulate.

Why can’t those who live in the vicinity of the school do the checks and balances.

Unless our government takes the SGBs seriously, nothing is going to happen in our schools, especially those in the township.

Is it because about 90% of the children of these Officials are studying at the former Model C schools, which have been developed and had privileges under the Apartheid system, or is it they are better taken care of because their parents a former Sadtu members who fought for free and quality education for a Black child.

I think the Government must hire and pay at least two professional people who could added value to the School Governing Bodies.

This will assist them greatly with effective and efficient functionality.

If one goes to these former Model C schools, you will find a CEO, Lawyers and Financiers serving in those SGBs whilst our highly skilled young professionals would rather spend more time in hang-outs than real community work.

We need a radical social change with committed social development agents who have a clear agenda of what is meant by social cohesion.

Parents do take the time to attend school meetings and teachers do take their time to teach the learners and there will be less teacher protests.

The reality is that teachers at former Model C schools never go on strikes.

The picture is completely inverse in our township schools.

So, what do we do, methinks we need to have active citizens who are interested in the development of the Black child and are able to assist in meaningful social change through active engagement at schools.

Bigboy Joseph Khayelitsha

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