The effects of apartheid’s unequal education system can still be felt today

Children in an overcrowded classroom. pic aamarchives

Children in an overcrowded classroom. pic aamarchives

Published Jun 16, 2016


APARTHEID’S legacy in education lives on, and the poor are still getting a poorer education, according to education expert, Graeme Bloch.

In 1953, finances for black and white schools were separated, and black children were given significantly less than white children.

In 1975/76, the state spent R644 annually on each white pupil, R189 per Indian pupil, R139 on a coloured pupil, and only R42 on an African pupil.

There was also a lack of black teachers, and many of those who did teach were underqualified.

In 1961, only 10% of black teachers held a matriculation certificate.

This perpetuated an inferior schooling system for the country’s majority.

Bloch, a former board member of Equal Education – a movement of pupils, parents, teachers and community members working for quality and equality in South African education – said 22 years after democracy, black and coloured schools in South Africa are still left under-resourced.

Bloch currently serves on the UCT council.

He has taught in the education faculty at the University of Western Cape, and was project manager for youth development at the Joint Education Trust.

He has also worked as head of Social Development in the Department of Welfare, and as Director of Social Development in the Joburg Metro.

Before 1994, he was executive member of the National Education Crisis Committee, as well as the United Democratic Front.

“Former white and Model C schools had more money and resources to a build a solid foundation for children, whereas schools in townships did not.

“This legacy lives on.

“and the poor will always get a poorer education unless there is more investment and teachers are trained,” Bloch said.

It is estimated that at least 250 000 people in Soweto were actively involved in the resistance of the Bantu Education Act, which was designed to provide black people with skills to work in manual labour jobs under white control.

That legislation deprived and disadvantaged millions for decades, and its devastating personal, political and economic effects continue to be felt today.

Prior to the Bantu Education Act, in 1949 the government appointed the Eiselen Commission to consider African education provision.

The Commission recommended “resorting to radical measures” for the “effective reform of the Bantu school system”.

The Coloured Persons Education Act of 1963 put control of “coloured” education under the Department of Coloured Affairs.

The 1965 Indian Education Act was passed to separate and control Indian education, which was placed under the Department of Indian Affairs.

No new high schools were built in Soweto between 1962 and 1971, and pupils were meant to move to their relevant homeland to attend the newly built schools there.

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