Although much has already been written on this blog about South Africa’s education shambles (see related posts below), not a word has been said yet about the latest school textbook saga. Now that a prominent Black South African academic, businesswoman, medical doctor and anti-apartheid activist, Mamphela Ramphele, has finally expressed her honest opinion on the matter I believe the timing is just perfect to spread the word on MY Simple Online Abode.
Bear in mind that Ramphele completed her schooling at Setotolwane High School in 1966 (Apartheid Era) and subsequently enrolled at the University of the North, where she qualified as a medical doctor in 1972 (Apartheid Era). Ramphele joined the University of Cape Town as a research fellow in 1986 (Apartheid Era) and was appointed as one of its Deputy Vice-Chancellors in 1991 (Apartheid Era). She was appointed to the post of Vice-Chancellor of the university in September 1996, thereby becoming the first black woman to hold such a position at a South African university. Today Ramphele is the holder of eighteen honorary degrees and a whole string of impressive awards.
The following was published today in The Star:
THE “MONUMENTAL failure” in education was not former prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd’s fault, but the current government’s.
So said former anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele in Durban at the weekend.
Commenting on a Talk Radio 702 interview with President Jacob Zuma, in which he blamed the architect of apartheid, Verwoerd, for the mess in schools, Ramphele said children under apartheid’s “gutter” education were better educated than today’s.
Ramphele was speaking at the Educational Management Association of SA conference that took place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
“By Jove, at least the kids could write and read. And many of them understood history and geography,” she said.
In the radio interview, Zuma also defended Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the government on the Limpopo textbook saga.
Ramphele said she could not understand why “no heads were rolling” and citizens were not “jumping up and down” about the current crisis.
SA could self-destruct before 2020 if it continued on this downward trajectory, she added.
The time had come to question the credentials of SA’s leaders.
In Asian countries, their cabinets were made up of engineers, finance experts, architects, lawyers, people with experience and technical expertise who were capable of directing, intervening and managing a modern political and economic system.
“Look at us. Give me a profile of our cabinet and tell me whether or not the capacity to intervene and direct is there. You can’t even deliver textbooks,” she snapped.
In a double whammy, Wits education professor Mary Metcalfe, who also addressed the event, said education in SA was a “burning platform” that was disappearing under the nation’s feet despite its being critical for survival.
Metcalfe quoted a 2007 survey that looked at a sample of 18- and 24-year-olds and found that in that year in SA, 2 million had not reached matric, and of those, half had not passed grades 7 and 8.
“There’s stuff happening in our schools, which means that large numbers of young people are leaving school. With what sort of sense of themselves, can I ask you? What sense of self-esteem and belonging and worth?
“And what did we do to them in the time that they were in our schools that gave them a sense of dignity and self-worth and the possibility of contributing to society?”
Ramphele said that while she believed the Basic Education Department’s Action Plan to 2014 provided the right framework to improve learning, “we are short of human resources and money on a scale to address the burning platform”.
She cited focus group research in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng which had revealed that “teachers felt they must deliver miracles”.
This was despite a basic lack of resources and government support.
Ramphele had stronger words. “There’s no excuse why any child anywhere should not have textbooks, let alone thousands upon thousands of children whose futures are being destroyed on our watch.”
Sourced from: The Star
- South Africa’s Pathetic School Teachers
- Campus Chaos in South Africa
- SA Education: You've ANC nothing yet!
- Matric Results Riddle
- The ANC has failed South Africa's youth
- Basta! My place is (not) here in Africa
- Barbaric behaviour disrupts SA schools
- South Africa’s Education System Farce!
- Stop celebrating the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976 -- Please!
See also: Bantu Education under Apartheid by Mike Smith