Sending your child to former model C schools does not help our township schools

2015-04-07 09:30

As a proponent of township schools, my heart pumps as fast as a cheetah when I see an exodus of black learners from township schools to former model C schools. There is nothing to ascribe this to other than to black parents who continue to think former model C schools will turn their children into shining stars of tomorrow—I am afraid to tell you, dear ndakies, that is just another illusion and will remain like that until any of the two Soweto soccer “giants” win FIFA Club World Cup. Our black parents think the best education is exclusive to white schools and our township schools are inept to do so. What is shocking is to see school principals and their teachers overlooking the same schools that they teach at and choosing to send their own children to these schools that think of themselves as the kings and queens of South Africa’s schooling system. What a shame!

When these black parents send their children to black schools, few of them become active participants in their children’s education. The converse happens when their children go to former model C schools. Listen to their excuses when asked why they choose the latter instead of the former: “black schools do not teach.” What!? How come that some of the learners who went to township schools outperform those who went to former model C schools in most fronts? No school makes a child; instead the level of dedication, hunger for success and discipline will see your child through at school—whether they are in a rural school or urban/ white schools. Ironically, our white parents seldom, if at all, take their children to township schools. Have we asked why not?

Instead of taking your expert knowledge to schools that already have that privilege, why not take it to schools that need it most? Why not share your expertise on how to, for instance, turn around an ineffective school to an effective one? Please do not tell me you can do that even when your child goes to another school. 80% of schools in South Africa would not be in a current mess, as Taylor (2007) estimates, if our black highly qualified parents did not look down upon our township schools. Parents who claim to be financially under resourced suddenly have money when their kids go to “affluent” schools; leaving our township schools in a mess.

My argument is: our black learners who go to township schools are just as talented as their black and white counterparts who go to former model C schools; the difference is just the level of parental involvement and the limited opportunities that we township learners were and are exposed to. The posh educational facilities that these urban schools have do not guarantee the transcendence to academic dominance. Black parents need to see a need of investing in township schools and we will start to see that the school your child goes to does not have a bearing on the person they become. Do not be fooled by “top” grades that most of learners from these schools get; most of these grades are manufactured throughout the year.

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