Nurture trumps education
THE CENTRAL point in my letter to Weekend Argus has been completely missed by Dr Wilmot James and the DA (Weekend Argus, January 9).
Political leaders think that fixing our societal problems starts with education. They think that if they can get education right, then the rest of society’s problems will eventually selfcorrect. I disagree.
The problems we see in education today are the outcome of a deeper root cause which is responsible for a multitude of serious social problems. This cause is grossly inadequate parenting.
The root cause of serious societal problems in many communities is teenage pregnancies and too-early motherhood and no responsibility exercised by the fathers.
If you could eliminate this teenage pregnancy problem, then other problems would self-correct.
The Weekend Argus photograph of matric star Aboo-Bakr Benjamin posing with his brothers and his little sister (who, very significantly, is holding a children’s book) is the perfect illustration of my contention that the key to a good education starts in the family. And this is especially so in povertyridden surroundings, as Aboo’s example illustrates.
It does not start at school, as our educationists would have you believe. Incidentally, missing from this picture are the real stars: Aboo’s parents. If only there were more like them. And if only their contribution was actively recognised by the authorities who seem wilfully oblivious to the critical role played by parents.
A popular Chinese definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing, and expect a different outcome each time.
So it is with the DA’s “solution” for the education problem. Their proposals are nothing more than “better” implementation of solutions that have been tried in the past.
There is nothing in their core vision that is a radical change from the past. The DA is being disingenuous in trying to convince the public that they have fixed the problem. The education results at the end of this year, or next year, or in 20 years’ time, will not differ significantly from what we are getting now. And why should they when the grossly disparate quality of the raw material entering the education pipeline is left unchanged?
Dr James agrees with my point that teenage pregnancy is a huge problem and a key blight on escaping the poverty trap, yet the DA has no thoughts whatsoever – let alone any strategy – to counter this.
It is astonishing that a ruling party can acknowledge a serious problem, yet admit to doing nothing. Helen Zille and the DA have lost the plot. The party is being populated by “handwringers” and hensoppers whose only talent is to find an excuse at every turn, when the situation is increasingly desperate and demands evermore bold and decisive action.