Monday, July 18, 2011

Prof Jonathan Jansen on education

I submitted this piece in response to an article in the Sunday Times of July 10. Needless to say, it wasn't published. Instead, the paper led the July 17 letters page with another response to the same article written by someone who regurgitated the very turgid rubbish which got education in this country into the sorry state it is to begin with. Anyway, for what it's worth, here is my response to Prof Jansen's article:

Professor Jonathan Jansen hits the nail on the head with his analysis of what is wrong with education in SA (Fixing a class-based calamity, July 10). However, what he did not mention was the imposition of outcomes-based education soon after the ANC came to power.

In their arrogant rush to remove all structures in place before 1994, the ANC decided to impose a curriculum that many warned would fail. And so it has.

Jansen notes that it is the former Model C schools which “continue to provide the camouflage of an apparently functional education system”, and the reason they do is not entirely financial. What most of them did was apply OBE very reluctantly, at all times ensuring that tried and tested methods – what Jansen calls “routines and rituals” – were retained. Clearly, with Sadtu undermining all attempts at achieving excellence, these rituals have not been allowed to take hold in township schools.

The ANC has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that it needs the expertise and experience of the white people of this country, and as long as it continues to do so it will reap the bitter rewards of such short-sightedness. Meanwhile, the ANC elite send their children to those very schools which still apply the successful methodologies of the apartheid era. How tragically ironic, since it means that the people who vote them into power again and again – the impoverished township masses – will continue to bear the brunt of this new form of class-based apartheid.

Meanwhile, the ANC goes on appointing under-skilled, inexperienced cadres to key positions in local, provincial and national government as part of its race-based affirmative action programme. And so the vicious cycle of failure built on failure will continue.

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