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Politically correct norm impact on our present Education system: read as part 3:
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Cedric Offline

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Politically correct norm impact on our present Education system: read as part 3:
This comment does not directly target the negative impact on our education by our politically correct norms, but rather asks why our society, including me, has allowed this deterioration to occur.

These comments are my personal views, nothing is linked to any research or discussions within the education structures, intended to stimulate discussion around the proposed business plan, I apologize in advance for any participant that feels aggrieved by my comment.

As we have progressed over the past eighteen years we have blamed the product, the curriculum, and switched regularly, hoping that our staff and learners/customers will help us improve our results/profits.

I place myself in the shoes of a teacher, and try and imagine what they have needed to endure in the switch to our New Democracy. This comment talks to all ex-teachers, in an effort to attract support for what we need to do for our country.

Politically Correct Failure:

Using the Johannesburg area as an example, I reflect on the Politically Correct concept that was introduced into our Education system.

We are all equal, and we will receive equal opportunity.

Looking at Soweto/Johannesburg, the area was divided into three main areas, each linked to a previously white school area.

This logic was good, the link under one administration office potentially allowed the Soweto schools to utilize the facilities of their linked white schools. Sports facilities, library facilities, computer facilities, laboratory facilities. This concept was ideal, except that no consideration was given to the logistics and cost of moving the learners from Soweto to Johannesburg.

I am of the opinion that the management and administration structures, rely on the previously white model-C schools to provide satisfaction and examples of achievement for the region.

Soweto as an area has further contrasting aspects that impact on the various regions, as an Educator I would love to teach in the Pimville, Diepkloof, Noordgesig, Orlando East and part of Orlando West region. These are all old established Townships, linked to many of the best Johannesburg model-C schools.

Deep-Soweto, linked through to Eldorado Park, Lenasia, and parts of Johannesburg South model-c schools, must be more difficult to administer.

Part of Orlando West, Meadowlands, Donsonville, linked to the West Rand model-C schools in 1994 would have had many positives, but how has the impact of the new RDP areas between Dobsonville and Krugersdorp impacting on the administration and teaching of these schools as a group.

Has this structure implemented in 1994 had any positive impact on the Township schools?

I believe not, I believe that we needed to upgrade and empower the Township schools, measure our progress, and built the schools to the level of model-C schools.

1994; Equal Education in the face of the ‘Abolishment of Influx Control’:
Teachers in South Africa, protected by the Apartheid Influx Control system, woke up one morning to find their class of Learners completely different to the previous year. Not only different in looks, but in many cases with languages so different that the teacher could not be understood, and the teacher did not understand the learners.

Here we are not only talking about the black child in the white school, the black child in the coloured or Indian school, but the Venda child in the previously Zulu language school, or the Shangaan in the predominant Xhosa school, and we could add many more.

Add to this the lack of influx control on our National borders, all in the name of being good neighbours, our schools had a huge influx of foreign nationals. As the years progressed, the deterioration of quality and opportunity in the Rural communities resulted in younger children being sent to the Township/Urban schools for their education.

Any teacher/ex-teacher, if able to be honest, would admit to have lamented the removal of Influx Control, without a transition period and a controlled system to support the educator.

Impact of Social short-comings in Townships:
I have penned hundreds of pages on the impact that our pre-1994 abuse and atrocities have had on a large portion of our population. The lack of social skills, the bubbling anger, the inability to reason, the avoiding of conflict.The potential of conflict, even in the form of maths or literacy, causes the mind to close to the challenge.

Add to this the impact of HIV/Aides on the community, the single parent learner, the child-headed family of learners.

Add to this the informal settlements, the new RDP hose development, the community without a history?

Employment equity / opportunities in the previous white schools:
The employment equity requirements attracted the previously white schools to recruit the best Township teachers, and the facilities and teachers at the Model C schools has had the impact on thousands of leaners being sent to the previously white schools seeking the opportunities that should come with this education.

It would be interesting to have a look at the individual Model-C schools, how their performance over the past eighteen years is reflected?

Back in the Township schools the best teachers are still identified and recruited to greener pastures, the best learners are also recruited by quality schools in the name of opportunity. Leaving a system that is loosing all their key teachers and learners.

Ninety percent of the Township teachers would never send their children to a Township school. What does this tell the parent and the learner, what message does this spread within this teacher fraternity.

Township Culture impacts on our Education Culture:
In 2008 a good friend, ANCWL stalwart, Mrs. Patricia Harvey-Mokoena had reason to challenge my criticism of the youth lack of social skills and used these words:
“Mr. Chair, how long have you been in the Township, you should know that this is Township Culture”.

After lengthy debate around the Board-room table we realized that the attitude and behaviour that we experience with the youth in the Townships is not what it was thirty years back. Yes, we can refer to the deterioration in most parts of the world, but that does not make it right.

Underlying this discussion is to what extend the elders and teachers, because they were so close to the Township life did not see the changes taking place, could not see the difference.

In 2008 we introduced a Social skills development program in Soweto schools and discovered among many other issues, the fact that most of the children we were working with, did not have the ability to comprehend the written english word.

Discussions with senior Education Department officials, when listening to my comments, branded me racist. Responding that the black youth only had problems with comprehending a few words, mainly the words that introduced the question, like DESCRIBE, RELATE, EXPLAIN, ILLUSTRATE, EXPLAIN, COMMENT.

The Department had identified this, and were in the process of finding a solution to this weakness, preparing to ask the questions, using words that the learners could understand. During the next years the media often commented on test papers that the children were given, ridiculing the system for setting test papers where questions with identical answers were asked three times in one paper, but using different words. This is all part of the attempt to find the magic words that will allow the system to set a paper that the learners can answer.

This problem is directly related to the lack of understanding of the teachers problems that they are facing.

The Country has many many examples of good schools with great achievement, schools that have their own business plan, within the lack of an effective National business plan. This is an indication that the curriculum, the educators, the learners all have the ability to achieve, we just need to restructure our business plan.

My criticism is of the system, a system that was implemented for all the good theoretical and political decisions. Neither the educators, or those outside the system, could criticize what we as society believe should be heard.

Our very capable educators need to operate in a structure, a business plan, that will allow them to perform. A structure that provides for the best, the best available, and the best for our children.

The best for our country.

The scenario of the 5-star hotel and the 1-star hotel is brining our schools closer together in terms of performance, but we are not seeing the continued downward trend.

In the business world the share-holders would have called for the C.E.O. to have been replaced before we switched curriculum, having delayed this call for too long, we are now at a level where we need to liquidate the operation, and move our employees and customers to the new venture that is proposed.

Cedric de la Harpe

As this webpage continues to get hits without promotion, we link back to the next stage:
The Political Force to implement:

(This post was last modified: 04-15-2013 08:19 AM by Cedric.)
12-10-2012 08:22 AM
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