Education disparities spark debate
[email protected] AS the country discussed the release of the 2018 Matric results, so did social media, with a raging debate about the expectations of rural schools being put on the same scale as urban ones.
Some users questioned the imbalance in facilities and teaching afforded pupils in pursuit of their academic dreams.
Sparking the debate was the high achievement of provinces like Gauteng and the Western Cape, and the continued struggle by the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and areas of Kwazulu-natal, made up largely of rural and underdeveloped areas.
Temaswati Dlamini took to Facebook just as Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the results that Gauteng was the best performing province, while the Eastern Cape had barely scraped by with the largest improvement title.
She asked why children in Houghton were assessed on the same platform as those from Cofimvaba: “When you start comparing our kids who go to some school in Comfivaba (near Queenstown) and yours that go to St John’s College you are just not fair at all.”
Saying the latter walked over 10km to school without food while the former had private transport and meals throughout the day.
While MEC Panyaza Lesufi was receiving praise for Gauteng’s achievements, she said the current Gauteng administration had inherited a province with the best schools, located in areas with more than the average basic needs like flushing toilets, water, electricity, libraries and feeding schemes.
Dlamini asked: “How do you start mocking schools from poverty-stricken areas for poor results?
“How can you compare teachers from Gauteng who have everything they want like air conditioners and tuckshops to teachers who brave the scorching sun to walk long distance, pass rivers to perform the same duty?”
Those who supported her took the thread up and said it was unfair of government to compare children with access to technology to those without computer labs, with one saying: “They don’t even know what word or excel is.”
@phindiso said: “Let me remind you the exam these kids write is the same one. Nobody gives a dam(n) if they did cover the syllabus that needed ipads. No one.”
Lundi Zenzi asked the country to stop doing this to children just because they did not understand their suffering.
“Just because you made it doesn’t mean this kids are coping… stop it, you making me very sad.”
When Sbongile Nhlapo suggested not all schools in Gauteng had the best infrastructure and the budget had been used wisely by officials on buses, the clap-back was deafening. Among responses was the question of understanding the lay of the land.
“Imagine trying, as Limpopo, to get children from at least 50km apart to school,” Nandipha Modise said. And when one user suggested boarding schools, the question which followed was who would then take care of the home and ensure younger siblings and the elderly were cared for. “Most of these matriculants either head homes, care for the elderly or just plain make sure there is water, fire and food for whole families,” said Lwandile Boya.
The argument raged on as some celebrated achievements and others explained they would be looking for jobs to support their families, as the balance of fortunes was laid bare for all to see.