The education is not in crisis; our humanity is!
The next few thoughts will attempt to address a critical element of the predicament of working class parents and learners, in the pursuit of middle class educational experiences In South Africa Cape Town. Where these thoughts apply in the broader scope, we urge our reader to apply caution, reflection and care in shaping their interventions. If, anything, the aim is to entice our readers on how complex our contexts are and not so much how one can lock down a one size fits all approach to education reform.
So where are we as South Africans who are in the broader Cape community? Please establish these as facts as you buy in on some of these lived experiences in order to consolidate your own understanding. In Cape Town, there are a variety of schooling systems which offer different education systems within one city. There are strictly well resourced schools who aim to cater and maintain an educational standard that is often reminiscent of the apartheid era; in both good and the bad. This is to say, schools in which fees are really high, in which language policies are still strictly monolithic, in which organizational culture still necessitates a racial hierarchy. Within these schools the outcomes are racial zed as follows; learners’ grade still reflect a stark difference between white learner achievements, Indian learner achievement, coloured learner achievement and finally black learner achievement levels. This means that we sit with a bracket of black learners as community members, from whom much is demanded but from whom the most educational struggle is projected. Two important convictions about these types of schools;
- They are important in the transference of skills and human resources in the broader understanding of the country’s needs.
- We need all schools to aspire to this standard of learning anyway? Privilege versus luxury would be a next conversation if we may be allowed to continue to reflect on what is important.
Well-resourced schools, the cultural hierarchy and the intersection conversation about translocation
What is translocation?
Let’s borrow a basic scientific explanation from the concept of translocation in plants. The high school subject; Life Sciences may aid in this understanding. The nutrients the plant creates can’t simply stream through the leaves to the other parts of the plant. They are moved through special tubes that run all throughout the plant, known as phloem. These long, continuous tubes extend from the leaves into every part of the plant, and new phloem are added as the plant grows, so the flow of nutrients is never interrupted. This process is called translocation. In the education system, we would hope to maintain the quality of resources and their locations during stages of community development and micro economic evolution but we would hope that those resources also trickle down to mean something for a child whose location is not at easy access to them. This is to say, A learner from Khayelitsha and (many relatively similar townships) trans locates for educational value every day; mentally they have to adjust in order to receive a clear perception of the value of their learning. Behaviour, mental health, reinforcement of quality and a well-rounded approach to sustaining this kind of value transference is basically where Early Birds has found itself.
In the heart of Khayelitsha, Site C, a small 2 bed roomed house with a progressive library selection, uncapped wifi, an active agent of education responding to different approaches gradually to establish a more sustainable pattern of broader inclusion for learners who have potential, in order to garner support and turn some of that potential into meaningful capacity.
At the intersection of the behavioural, mental health challenges, asset-based community development approach we have come to understand the humanity of those who are truly invested in the three sphere educational systems we carry in our beloved country; the public schooling system? The private schooling system? The home schooling systems? We receive donations from all spheres, pledges from personal relationships as well as physical help from the best human resources in the city and this has absolutely worked to build what we now call our resident education home in Site C Khayelitsha. Our hope is to continue to raise awareness about the complexity of creating an umbrella of solutions while the margins suffer everlasting socioeconomic effects of failed transitional states. Please join us in asking more, questions, pondering on ways we can gather support and recognize small changes that close giant gaps in our learning systems in our country.
I am Miss Dludla, a home-schooling educator, a fitness and lifestyle coach to learners of all age groups from all walks of life. A resident teacher of the Mathematics and Religion Studies subjects for senior phase and FET learners, a literacy enthusiast, and a well-rounded aspiring researcher into the education conundrum we’ve come to surrender into crisis mode as a country.
I am an education activist who is open and willing to work on this gap, not taking away from the critical work of greater systems in our Country’s effort to enhance the state of marginalized communities.