OPINION: Education skewed for haves and have-nots

2017-03-16 06:02
opinionThembile Ndabeni

opinionThembile Ndabeni

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The gap between the township-based schools and the former Model C schools has been widening over the years, with the former in tatters.

It is for this reason that even teachers send their children to former Model C schools or schools in town.

The challenge for most schools in the townships is the lack of authority and discipline.

The schools are in a state of chaos and are beyond reproach.

Children don’t toe the line, even as far as punctuality is concerned.

While I was still an educator, when the learners were locked outside the gates because they were late coming to school, we found a boy drinking a nip of brandy.

He said it was because it was cold. He lived down the street from the school!

The scary part was when a colleague and I witnessed one boy shooting at others just outside the school premises.

Imagine if he had a wrangle with one of us. This was not an isolated incident. Educators can tell stories of fear at the hands of learners.

In the Model C schools, it is a different scenario.

Children come to schools in full uniform, failing which a letter from a parent would suffice.

Newcomers at secondary schools arrive with parents or guardians for the open day where they are orientated in the values and culture of the school and expectations.

Meetings are called during the week and parents attend. Yet in township schools, it is difficult to call a meeting even on weekends.

However, township schools reflect the legacy of the Apartheid system in which they were supposed to produce Bantu Education products.

The government cared less even in terms of the school design.

Black schools were not planned for extra mural activities like sport.

In white schools you have halls, soccer pitches and tennis courts.

Even in terms of the curriculum White schools’ were designed in terms of the demands of the economy of the country.

Here we have the best of everything, medical doctors, engineers you name it.

When it comes to schools in the townships, very few have career orientation programmes even at high school level.

What happens then?

Children find it difficult to know what to study at university and this frustrates some to a point of dropping out.
Ask yourself why we have many Black graduates wandering with no jobs presently.

That tells that even potential employers are sceptical of recruiting Black graduates.

In the former Model C schools the basic values are still at the core: order, discipline, stability, respect, dignity and integrity.

Children are still under the control and authority of the educators and school.

Why is all that good not happening in Black township schools.

Would you then blame Black parents for sending their children to “Model C” schools.

When teachers send their own children to these schools, they show a vote-of-no-confidence even to themselves. And they are in a better position to witness the chaos every day and by the look of things it will take some bold or brave one to ring in the necessary changes that could right the wrongs in the schools.

What needs to be done?

Let’s reserve that question for the following article fellow South Africans!

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