Teach so­cial jus­tice to curb racism

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Mo­hamed Saeed

CON­SID­ER­ING re­cent news ar­ti­cles about racial state­ments be­ing made at South African schools, it is ob­vi­ous that racial is­sues con­stantly hound and test our com­mu­ni­ties.

Racism will not just dis­ap­pear, there­fore, the teach­ing of so­cial jus­tice themes or top­ics at schools and in com­mu­ni­ties is very im­por­tant.

We need to ur­gently en­gage ef­fec­tively with the is­sues re­lated to racism, sex­ism, clas­sism and gen­der-based vi­o­lence with open­ness, hon­esty and sin­cerely.

We can­not undo the ef­fects of apartheid and our racist past overnight, but we need to con­stantly speak to th­ese so­cially de­struc­tive and self-de­struc­tive ills.

Al­though life ori­en­ta­tion lessons speak to the is­sues of racism, gen­der-based vi­o­lence and clas­sism, a more in-depth study needs to be done.

A com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach is needed to pro­mote re­spect for cul­tural, re­li­gious and racial dif­fer­ences.

Most sen­si­ble and in­formed peo­ple agree that gen­der-based vi­o­lence, clas­sism and racism are some of the most press­ing so­cial ills keep­ing us away from achiev­ing a dig­ni­fied life for all those who live in South Africa.

The depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion needs to cre­ate and de­velop work­shops for teach­ers to ad­dress and pre­vent racism at schools.

I know teach­ers are over­whelmed and over­loaded with ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties, but teach­ing about so­cial co­he­sion, co-ex­is­tence, di­ver­sity, un­der­stand­ing democ­racy and so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity is also im­por­tant.

In a coun­try with such huge in­equal­i­ties, im­bal­ances and as we still heal from the ef­fects of apartheid, to teach about hu­man rights is just as im­por­tant as the other sub­jects.

Ad­di­tion­ally, wide-rang­ing in­ter­ven­tion, coun­selling and sup­port ser­vices in the school en­vi­ron­ment that are de­signed at pre­vent­ing the sort of un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent that oc­curred at a school in KwaZulu-Natal should be im­ple­mented.

Schools must un­der­take a large re­spon­si­bil­ity and proac­tively con­trib­ute to so­cial co­he­sion and pro­mote hu­man dig­nity and de­vel­op­ment at our schools and in com­mu­ni­ties. Pi­eter­mar­itzburg

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