Clo­su­re of farm schools short-sig­h­ted

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

• Ju­li­an Mur­ray, Graaff-rei­net:

The last farm schools in the dis­trict c­lo­se their doors per­ma­nent­ly this week, which is a gre­at dis­ser­vi­ce to the far­ming com­mu­ni­ty and an in­jus­ti­ce to the child­ren in par­ti­cu­lar.

The ra­ti­o­na­le of the E­du­ca­ti­on De­part­ment is that the te­a­cher: pu­pil ra­tio is ske­wed and the­re­fo­re too ex­pen­si­ve.

Per­haps, but w­hat a­bout the big­ger pic­tu­re? In­di­vi­du­al farm schools are pro­vi­ding a con­si­de­ra­bly bet­ter e­du­ca­ti­on than their town coun­ter­parts and this wit­hout the ex­pen­se of bo­ar­ding fa­ci­li­ties. Just one ex­tra fai­lu­re per class and the sup­po­sed cost-sa­vings are lost, let al­o­ne the e­co­no­mic and so­ci­al han­di­cap of sen­ding a young a­dult in­to the wor­ld wit­hout ta­king ad­van­ta­ge of the be­st e­du­ca­ti­on pos­si­ble.

Bloem­hof P­ri­ma­ry was foun­ded in the 1940’s by Ber­nard Mur­ray and, i­ro­ni­cal­ly, is as strong and he­althy as it has e­ver been in its 70-y­e­ar his­to­ry. De­di­ca­ted te­a­chers, hap­py child­ren and sa­tis­fied pa­rents ma­ke a success­ful com­bi­na­ti­on.

For this, we thank our cur­rent te­a­chers Roe­lien van de Put­te and Li­zet­te Ed­wards and all tho­se that ha­ve ser­ved so selfles­sly in all the farm schools of the wi­der Graaff-rei­net dis­trict.

My grand­fat­her, A­lec Mur­ray, who was the school’s cus­to­di­an for o­ver thir­ty y­e­ars, had two fa­vou­ri­te ex­pres­si­ons: “Do not fix w­hat is not bro­ken” and, in jest, “It is o­kay to be ig­no­rant, but then you must be very ig­no­rant!”

How sad that this would ap­ply to his be­lo­ved school.

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