“In June 1976, SA’s youth led one of the most extraordinary protests against a discriminatory approach to education. Their rebellion reverberated across the world to become the symbol of the struggle for freedom in our country. Yet, almost 40 years later, our education system remains exclusionary and fragmented,” writes Lorenzo Fioramonti in his latest column for Business Day.
“Our national debate on education tacitly assumes that SA is divided into a majority of poorly resourced (public) schools and a few, mostly urban, very well-developed (private) schools. This may be true if we limit our observation to the physical infrastructure of the “good” schools. I have indeed never seen as many rugby fields, Olympic pools, beautiful halls and playgrounds as I have in private schools and some of the best-resourced public schools (most of which are public-private hybrids previously known as Model C).
But if we scratch beneath this flashy surface, we find serious problems with the education model there. First, many of them reinforce pre-existing racial and class patterns. This is not only because of high tuition fees but also because of the values they project. It is common for these schools to expect students to wear expensive uniforms, glorify conspicuous consumption (for instance, by allowing companies to advertise to pupils) and teach children that excellence is the result of competition.”
Read the full article “Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’” on Business Day