Running schools like shebeens is a scare for the creation of sustainable and empowering learning environments.

2014-09-03 14:34

I write this with great sadness that even my inner self cannot contain. I have learnt that there are schools that hire teachers to teach subjects for which they were not trained. Guess what is the excuse for doing so? Lack of specialist teachers is the reason. Teaching does not get the kind of respect it deserves, because we treat it like a third class profession. We are not afraid to put someone who does not have necessary didactical underpinnings in front of learners to teach. But why can’t we do the same with other professions like medicine? Would you allow the Otolaryngologist (ear specialist) to perform an ankle operation on you or your child? My close guess in a big NO!

Do not be surprised if you find out that a third of teachers who teach in our township schools teach subjects for which they were not trained at the university or college. Let it not be a shocker when you find out that those teachers who never cease to fail tests that are aimed at their learners are, in fact, the very same teachers who were not trained to teach those subjects. My focus is on township schools not because they have sinned, but solely because I love them over their urban counterparts, thus all the rotten tomatoes thereof should be revealed and be dealt with accordingly. Who in their right mind would hire a teacher to teach our innocent learners without proof of deep subject knowledge?

If teachers were hired based on their academic records, but not on grounds of presenting their degree qualifications to school principals, I wonder how many would still be in the system. I say this, because I know of many fellow student teachers I attended classes with in our undergraduate classes who failed their majors—the subjects they are supposed to teach—more than once and still managed to be employed. To make things even worse some are employed despite the fact that they never even completed that course.

So, what does this tell you about the quality of teachers we have in township schools? What does this tell you about the future of our country and continent? What does this tell you about the school managers and national, provincial as well as the regional officials who are supposed to expose these rotten tomatoes? How do we create empowering and sustainable learning environments with some teachers and school managers who rob our learners of the bright future?

Make no mistake, some of the finest teachers and schools that we have in the land are from townships, however, the darkness seems to outdo the brightness, I am afraid.

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