The Life of Steve Bantu Biko
by South African History Online
The article is a biography and tribute to Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko who although was not alone in forging the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM); was nevertheless its most prominent leader, who with others guided the movement of student discontent into a political force unprecedented in the history of South Africa. Biko and his peers were responding to developments that emerged in the high phase of apartheid, when the Nationalist Party (NP), in power for almost two decades, was restructuring the country to conform to its policies of separate development. The NP went about untangling what little pockets of integration and proximity there were between White, Black, Coloured and Indian people, by creating new residential areas, new parallel institutions such as schools, universities and administrative bodies, and indeed, new ‘countries’, the tribal homelands. The students that launched the South Africa Students Organisation (SASO) belonged to a generation that resisted the process of strengthening apartheid, in any manner they could.
Biko’s rise to prominence is inextricably tied to the development of the BCM.
THE ILLUSION OF EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
BY DR MOEKETSI LETSEKA
South Africa’s constitution is hailed as ‘liberal and egalitarian’ because ‘it values human dignity and frames human rights at its heart’ But the country’s public education is ‘a national disaster’ that is ‘essentially dysfunctional’. In this paper I sketch this ‘essential dysfuctionality’. I appeal to the notions of ‘redesigning’ and ‘reengineering’. Employed sensibly ‘redesigning’ and ‘reengineering’ can generate dramatic improvements in critical performance measures such as cost, quality, service and speed. I argue that ‘redesigning’ and ‘reengineering’ can enable South Africa’s public education to efficiently deliver ‘education for all’ to the majority blacks who were previously disadvantaged by apartheid policies.
PUTTING MATHS EDUCATION BACK ON TOP
BY ANDREW EINHORN
For every 100 learners who enter the South African schooling system in Grade 1, only 48 will make it to Matric. Of the 48 who make it to Matric, only 22 will take Maths as a subject.
Of the 22 who take Maths, only 10 will pass. And of the 10 who pass, only 4 will pass with a mark greater than 50 per cent. As a result, we are not producing the doctors, scientists, engineers, teachers etc. needed to build South Africa into a thriving and stable civil society.
In this opinion piece, Andrew discusses the roles of teachers and technology in South African maths education, arguing that while technology can be beneficial, the long term solution lies in the recruitment and training of our teachers. He concludes the piece with several policy proposals that he believes would greatly aid our progress toward rebuilding maths education in South Africa.
The proposals include, include: the development of a stronger recruitment strategy for a Bachelor of Education and Post-Graduate Certificate in Education programs; introducing board exams for final year maths teachers in training; and lastly to place a heavy emphasis on the recruitment, and a appropriate remuneration, of quality lecturers in the teacher-training space.
ACCESS TO FEMININE HYGIENE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
WHY EDUCATION POLICY HAS FAILED OUR WOMEN AND GIRLS?
BY SAMUEL SHAPIRO
The advancement of women’s rights in democratic South Africa since the fall of apartheid has witnessed robust debates and strong political rhetoric. However, in practice we have seen stuttering, fragmented, and largely failed policy initiatives that have not helped transform the everyday lives of women. This paper will look at these failures from the perspective of feminine hygiene in schools and attempt to illuminate the dismal shortcomings of policy, government, and the private sector in ensuring all girl learners have access to hygiene, health, dignity, and education.
EXCLUSION AND ACCESS IN HIGHER EDUCATION POLICIES
BY DR. KIRTI MENON
The democratisation process of higher education in South Africa commenced in 1994, with the refrains of ‘widening access, broadening participation’ and ‘the doors of education and culture shall be opened’. The deep structural and systemic deficits in the apartheid education system restricted access to higher education based on race, while simultaneously deepening inequalities in the schooling system.
Education reform as the transition to democracy commenced, required seismic policy and systemic shifts widely described as an agenda to transform the higher education system. Thus equity of access and success reverberate in the policy documents and reforms undertaken by the government. The focus of this paper is on a 16 year time-span from 1994–2010, tracing the journey of policy reforms and analysing the quantitative data at the national level of the higher education system .
Dr. Menon sought to understand the enormity of the education system problems, while taking into account that changing the course for the country is a major task which would require deep transformation that would not be feasible in a short period.