Ed­u­ca­tion dis­par­i­ties spark de­bate

Pretoria News Weekend - - METRO - NTANDO MAKHUBU

[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.

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