Education a political football
EDUCATION is clearly in a bad way on all fronts. In Basic Education, the problem is commonly regarded as “logistical”.
Many schoolchildren have still not been allocated places, nor have set books arrived.
But there are other agendas being pursued. Astoundingly, schools have been set alight. And some parents deny their children education to pressure the local government to provide tarred roads and other less vital services.
Standards in the benchmark matric exams are evidently being manipulated and eroded.
Higher Education is becoming an ideological battleground, not only over the expected terrain of content and syllabuses, but over money.
In the president’s “Unity in Action” address on January 8, commenting on the crucial matter of the funding of higher education, he emphasised that the parties must “speak with one voice”.
This is obviously as unrealistic as expecting the ANC to “speak with one voice”. The response from a #FeesMustFall activist has been unequivocal, demanding free education.
However, this demand is on occasions modified to “free decolonised education”, a modification which can only lead to endless debates.
Or perhaps what will emerge will be endless demands and disruptions.
Geoff Hughes is an emeritus professor formerly with Wits University.