Leigh-Ann Naidoo, an educationalist and activist based in the School of Education at the University of Cape Town, unpacks the “hidden curriculum” our students are learning
Students across the country’s campuses have asked why curricula have remained Eurocentric, even though we’re in post-apartheid SA. Why have the curricula, or the content of what we teach, remained focused on European culture and history? Besides what the actual content states and focuses on, or the explicit lessons being taught through a curriculum, there are implicit lessons being learnt. In the study of education, we talk about the “hidden curriculum” when we want to explore the idea that more’s being taught and learnt than the planned content of a course or programme. Thinking critically inside and outside the classroom requires us to look for the messages or lessons that are being communicated, especially those that aren’t explicitly part of the curriculum.
For a long time, education and the best jobs were reserved for people of European descent. This taught us that whites were best suited to study and hold highly skilled jobs, while blacks (including all the apartheidcreated categories) were not and were therefore limited to low-skilled, low-paid work. We were taught under apartheid and colonialism to believe everything we read, especially in textbooks, which meant that the continent’s history and culture were