Learners play with robotics at the launch of 4iR STREAM Lab at Goodwood College in Ruyeterwaght. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Learners play with robotics at the launch of 4iR STREAM Lab at Goodwood College in Ruyeterwaght. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

An equal society with a working education system is within our grasp

By Opinion Time of article published Mar 12, 2021

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by Brian Isaacs

The government has announced that education will be free from ECD to university. All educational institutions will be under the control of the national government. Private schools and model C schools will become government schools.

The country will no longer be divided into provinces. There will be one national Parliament controlling the affairs of the country. People will be taxed according to their income. The government believes that the wealthy will pay taxes which will contribute to the well-being of the nation.

The majority of schools will be built on the outskirts of well-constructed towns. To my mind, this means that students coming from the ill-designed houses people were forced into not by choice could see what a new South Africa would look like.

The government announced a plan to upgrade all schools to a level in which students will have all the necessary building infrastructure and sporting facilities within 10 years. Schools of the poor will have facilities to see that students are well-nourished. Each school will have evening classes for parents wishing to further their education.

Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSAs) will replace the present autocratic school governing bodies (SGBs). There will be an equal representation of parents and teachers (including non-teaching staff) on PTAs and an equal representation of parents, teachers (including non-teaching staff) and students on PTSAs.

Immediately, schools can apply to broaden their curriculum especially with subjects in the arts. Maths and physical sciences must be offered at schools. Life orientation is discarded immediately and physical education (PE) and career guidance is introduced without examinations. Career and PE specialists to be appointed.

In the appointment of principals, the principal must have an excellent track record of academic achievement as a teacher. The principal must have a vision for the country which is non-racial, non-sexist and politically progressive allowing for free debate among teachers and students.

The teachers must be prepared to offer at least on two days his/her help in sport or extramural activities. Schools must introduce a wide range of sport activities and extramural activities.

The government will provide the finance to arrange for transport to allow students to play inter-school sport and take part in inter-school extramural activities.

The government will do everything in its power to see that every child in South Africa is given the best education the country can offer. At a Grade 10 level, students will be required to go to the rural areas to assist fellow students in academic work and extramural activities. It also allows urban students to get a feel of rural life and vice versa.

Like Cuban society, the government will try to develop a humanitarian spirit in its citizens. With the present outbreak of Covid-19 the Cuban medical staff have been sent to all parts of the world to serve humanity. The government here wants its citizens to follow in the footsteps of its Cuban compatriots.

Is a government like this possible in South Africa? It was possible for Cuba. A tiny island with a much smaller population than South Africa’s.

Many South American countries have tried to emulate Cuba. I believe that when the individual changes and challenges and speaks truth to power (although the US educationist Noam Chomsky says he does not use this phrase because the oppressor knows the truth) we will have a snowball effect.

To the many parents, teachers and students out there fighting for an equal society it is within our grasp.

* Brian Isaacs obtained a BSc (UWC) in 1975, a Secondary Teacher’s Diploma in 1976, BEd (UWC) in 1981, and MEd (UWC) in 1992. He is a former matriculant, teacher and principal at South Peninsula High School.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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