Ed­u­ca­tion a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION&ANALYSIS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.