Closure of farm schools short-sighted
• 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.