The book, A School Where I Belong, authored by Dylan Wray, Roy Hellenberg and Professor Jonathan Jansen, draws on insights they gained from interviews with pupils, teachers and principals. “Over the last few years, it has become clear that the path of transformation in schools since 1994 has not led South Africa’s education system to where we had hoped it could be,” said Hellenberg, co-founder of Futureproof Schools.
“Everything from hair and language policies to race and the lack of inclusivity at our schools is being challenged.” Issues of inclusivity and transformation affect especially former Model C and private schools, where pupils of colour feel they belong, and they become “othered”, the authors’ research finds.
The authors sat down with young people who attended these schools, as well as current principals and teachers.
“I think at least part of the problem of why these schools are struggling to transform adequately is because private schools and, to an extent, Model C schools as well see themselves as islands. They see themselves as existing independently somehow from the rest of the educational system and the rest of South Africa, and don’t see themselves as being beholden to the needs of South Africa more broadly,” noted a former learner from a private boys’ school.