WHY I WROTE THE BOOK
Firstly: For many years I’ve been looking for a desk from the Department of Education to complain about how poor the South African schooling system is, however I struggled to find one, hence I decided to write this book and sell it to the Department of Education Superiors so that they hear my complaints.
The question I want to ask the most is. Why is a classroom full of individuals or 60 pupils tested on one means or on one exam paper? Otherwise the Department Of Education tells us that all people are psychological the same and equal.
Today our children have grade 12 certificates and higher learning institutions qualifications BUT are permanently low on their self-esteem and confidence, as they exit schools empty and narrow minded, not knowing to speak, read and write English as it is the medium of instruction in our country. The DOE should stop celebrating a 15 seconds of fame (the day of grade 12 results release) but should seek a life time and purposeful fame.
When one is truly educated it means that person should create his or her own job but not look for it. Why do I say so, it is because the term “education” derives from two Latin words “e” which is a prefix meaning “out” or “out from” and “duco” which means “to lead”: Therefore, when we are truly educated, we are led out from being followers to be leaders, from poverty to richness, darkness into light, from ignorance into wisdom, from weakness into strength; from looking for jobs into creating them: and the power that God has put within us, is cultivated through education, so that each human being who manifests what God has put within becomes The Glory of God.
Another question that the book asks is: Why in our country has a Social work graduate working at a Shoprite Supermarket as a shop assistant, cashier or a packer? Why do we have an Electrical Engineer graduate, Human Resource Management graduate and a LLB graduate, working at a butchery cutting meat or working at a bakery baking cakes and breads? The formerly mentioned are stories of most South African graduates.
What I am about to mention in the next sentence, I say it with great sadness and compassion. A former classmate of mine from grade 10, 11 and 12 who was also a top learner in our class, attained a Human Resource Management qualification from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). She lost her finger while she was at work. After graduating from UJ she struggled to get a job with her HR qualification, hereinafter, she worked at a butchery where she accidently cut her finger off and lost it. Based on the formerly mentioned, what is it that South Africa is doing wrong? Are the South African government departments and prominent private companies doing enough to absorb universities’ graduates after graduating from higher learning institutions? Are the South African schools and higher learning institutions training students to create jobs or to look for jobs?
Secondly, “Voetsek stupid”!! These were the words uttered by a teacher from one of the primary schools in a Nelspruit rural area called Pienaar to my nephew’s friend who failed to answer a question which was asked to them. I asked my nephew what resulted his teacher to swear at his friend and the answer I received was that he failed to answer what White people brought to South Africa instead he answered apartheid. It turns out the teacher wanted her learners to respond that White people brought development and civilisation instead of apartheid.
According to my understanding, schools are educational institutions but presently most South African schools have lost the quality of education. We send our children to schools with the intention and hope that they would be educated but currently, our children exit from school still empty minded and unprepared to face the world. In my experience, rural and township schools are not doing justice to our children when it comes to speaking, reading and writing English. This is a result of being schooled instead of being educated.
A practical example involves a scenario between a friend of mine and a policeman from a local police station. My friend had accompanied a child who was being physically abused by his maternal aunt (mamncane). Instead of writing maternal aunt on the statement, the policeman opted to write “small mother”. This is a disgrace judging that it came from a person who claims to have attended school.
Additionally, in clarification to being schooled, it certainly breaks my heart to inform you that a 29 years old client of mine with a grade 12 was eager to own his land and home. He came to our offices to request a motivational letter confirming that he is unemployed and cannot afford to buy vacant land which is being sold by the Traditional Authority Office. As a social worker, I did not know how to assist him hence I requested that he started by writing an affidavit confirming that he will pay the office as soon as he is employed. The following is content of what he wrote on the affidavit:
“How are u mr Hlungu is me XXXXXXX first of all I like to pologies arebut this I have problem with money and I need piece of land at Lihawu But I don’t have money to buy it But if I can find job I can pay you all your money that is coast each of land I please you to brorow me that piece of land. Ngiyaxolisa Kakhulu. Thank u. from XXXXXXXX”.
Bear in mind mr Hlungu is the Chief. The above affidavit motivated me to write this book and raise a complain to the SA Department of Education’s office together with its teachers and this book is the only way I can reach the Department of Education’s Top level Management and officials regarding the issue of poor education system in our country.
Another incident of being schooled and not being educated involves a 15 year old learner in Grade 10 who visited our DSD offices as part of her curriculum in a subject called Life Orientation which required them to clean offices. I was left feeling amazed by this on how can schools teach learners on how to clean offices. Do we expect them to clean offices after school or are we grooming them to become cleaners after school? I have a strong belief that our minds are shapeless and can be compared to water in a way that they take in what we choose to feed them. For example, if one could pour water in a round container, then the water would be shaped in a circle and the same applies if you can pour water in a square container, the water would be shaped in a square. Hence, I argue that what we teach our children is what they will become in future. Kiyosaki (2000) also proposed that “you are what you eat”. However, I tend to differ and argue that "you become what you study." In other words, be careful what you study and learn, because a mind is a powerful tool and learns from what it is taught.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The book “ARE YOU SCHOOLED OR EDUCATED” entails a thought provoking introduction about education as well as ten chapters about the broken and dysfunctional South African schooling system. The last chapter, which is chapter ten, compiled a list of recommendations on how to mend the broken South African schooling system and schools. Below this page shall display the book’s introduction, the titles of the ten chapters and a hint of what the chapters entails:
OUR SCHOOLS SUPRESS AND ROB PUPILS OF THEIR PASSION & CREATIVITY
In South Africa, school has given us (the poor) everything we could ever want but at the same time stolen everything we really needed (education). One friend of mine says, in the present days education is a broken key to success. I completely disagree with him, however, I say if education is the key to success then school is the lock because it locks the door of your mind to open up for your gift, talent and creativity. School develops your mind to an arguable point where red can be perceived as green and an individual can proceed to go even when told to stop. This statement can be evident through you, as I am currently warning you now to stop but since you are schooled you will never stop. However, the choice is yours whether to proceed or stop but take it from me you will never choose the consequences of turning a blind eye to my advice, and a thing about the truth, is that, it can be ignored and denied but it cannot be avoided.
LOSING OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE CANNOT BE COMPARED LIKE LOOSING AN ELECTION OR FEW RANDS ON A STOCK MARKET
This book is a plea to the national Department of Education to change its ways of teaching South African learners. I have no hidden agenda but I am fighting for our children’s future, since losing our children’s future cannot be compared to losing an election or few rands on the stock market. I am here to speak for all the future generation and I am currently speaking on behalf of many underprivileged children who are not educated but schooled by the poor education system in South Africa. I speak on behalf of the children who recently completed grade 12 but cannot even construct a sentence in English, since this is the language of medium instruction in the country. As a result, this disadvantages them in terms of employment, since they cannot read, write and speak proper English. Unquestionable, the schooling system of South Africa, is such that; it is unable to prepare learners to create jobs out there.
SA SCHOOLS ARE RUNNING AT A LOSS INSTEAD OF A PROFIT
In our vast knowledge there are two classifications of schooling, mainly Private and Public. Reality though speaks in a different note. In my view, our delicate schooling system is divided into four unique sectors (rich, average, township and rural), to deeply articulate the four differences, I shall use an example of a vehicle and learning to drive it. First, we have private schools also known as independent schools (most are rich schools in towns and in suburbs). Secondly, we have average schools also known as model C schools (most are middle class schools found in towns and suburbs). Thirdly, we have poor schools in townships and at the bottom of the barrel we have the deeply deprived schools in rural areas.
I LEGALLY RESENT THE SCHOOLING OF SA PUPILS HENCE I SHOUT OUT LOUD
The South African Department of Education has allowed to ship education from our hands yet it does not see the need of coming out clean and apologising to the nation for its mistakes so that as a nation, we can rise together in trying our utmost best to locate and to change the future of our education system. In unpacking the formerly mentioned statement, let us begin by analyse the following story.
“IF THEY DON’T LEARN THE WAY YOU TEACH, WHY DON’T YOU TEACH THE WAY THEY LEARN”
Considering our country’s current educational status, we are blamed as teachers and one would argue, that teachers have failed the leaners in our country, while on the other hand, teachers are blaming the government especially the Department of Education and the learners who they teach. As a teacher, he undeniable argued that there is a crisis with our schooling system, and together we should identify the problem in order to find a solution to the schooling system. Moreover, he proposed that children are born with different abilities as well as talents but schools do not accommodate these various talents: instead, schools only accommodate those with moderate to high intelligent quotient (IQ) and subsequently, during tests and exams; every learner is examined on a standard question regardless of the IQ. This emphasises that all SA learners during their primary and high school learning are expected to study, cram and write tests as the only way to progress to the next grade or level. On the contrary, research has indicated that people are divided into two intelligence Quotients namely IQ and EQ.
PURSUING YOUR CAREER IS FAR FROM CHASING YOUR DREAM
Dreams are in us, but careers are men made, besides, people choose careers contrary, dreams choose people. Martin Luther King says, “That man never had a dream, but that dream had him”. The question, I am getting at is, why is a classroom full of learners’ assessed using one method? To the South African Department of Education, we all have different talents, abilities, potentials for processes and experiences, so why are you testing sixty pupils in one classroom using one method. I REFUSE TO LET AN EXAM RESULT DECIDE MY FUTURE. Therefore, I dislike the South African contemporarily schooling system but love education, in fact, I legally resent our present schooling system and in this book, I am going to write and provide all the reasons behind my resentment towards our contemporary schooling system and love for education. I hope that the former mentioned would push the officials of the Department of Education to reform the South African schools and education.
“MONEY ALONE WILL NOT MAKE OUR SCHOOLING GO ROUND”
As previously mentioned that the bigger pie of the national budget is allocated to the Department of Education yet the department keeps failing us. According to Hofmeyer, money alone will not make our schooling go around and commitment and time are among the things that cash cannot buy for our schools. The most critical problems in the education sector which needs to be addressed in South Africa are lack of commitment and capacity. A study carried out at the University of Cape Town indicated that one participant noted that most challenges faced by South African schools were not financial factors but lack of passion, commitment and negligence by most officials from the Department of Education and teachers. In relation to the formerly mentioned, it is clear that the government is not fully committed in educating South African learners. Moreover, the study identified problems which are being experienced by the South African schools and these are…..
WOULD IT TRULY BE AN AWFUL IDEA IF WE WERE TOLD SCHOOL IS A LANE TO SUCCESS AND NOT THE MEANS TO IT ALL
Would it truly be an awful idea if we were told school is a lane to success and not the means to it all? Would it truly be awful if our children were encouraged to show off their talents in athletics, tennis and theatre? Would it truly be as awful to inform our children that school is important but there is life after failing to attain the required level 7? I recon not, not only would it have prevented my attempt to commit suicide in my grade twelve and in university after feeling the pressure to attain that B+. As I was told, I understood that in order to escape poverty, I had to succeed in school and I was often told that in order to improve my life, tertiary was the way. With that dream which the author of this book (Nkosinathi) believes is a career slowly slipping the idea of a life as an office cleaner, teller or packer was not so desirable?
WE LEGALLY DEMAND TO BE EDUCATED INSTEAD OF BEING JUST SCHOOLED
Education is attainable outside school. To give an example that is close to my family, my mum knows a guy who is a Glass fitter for vehicles. This guy is from Swaziland as a result he does not have an identity document, however, what he has, is knowledge, experience and education on fitting glasses for vehicles. Earlier last year, my younger brother who has a “criminal record” was unemployed. My mum asked the guy who is the Glass fitter, to teach him how to fit glasses for vehicles. He agreed and taught him. Teaching him, did not even take six months, my brother was a Pro in fitting glasses for vehicles. Importantly, they did not need a school or a structure, to teach each other, however, they did it on the street. Today, my brother, alongside with this guy who taught him to fit glasses, are fitting windscreens and side windows for more than ten vehicles per day. What fascinate me the most is that, each car they fit, is not charged less than R1500 / per fitting, and this varies on the model of the car, as sometimes they charge more than one could imagine. The point I am getting at is, I went to university for four years, my brother never went to school; however, he just learned to fit glasses, for less than six months. On the other hand, I was taught professional social work for four years, but still today, the money my brother makes per day alongside with his teacher, who does not even have an Identity document and my brother with a “criminal record”, is more than I make from my profession.
ACQUIRING EDUCATION OUTSIDE SCHOOL IS REAL & POSSIBLE
To build up on the former chapter, below is an example that indicates the differences between being schooled and being educated. Before I started university, I used to work for a cleaning material company and my boss was never schooled but was educated in mixing chemicals to manufacture cleaning materials. The reason I argue that he was educated instead of being schooled is that during his childhood, he was rebellious and dropped out of high school before reaching Grade 10. After dropping out of high school, he decided to join his mother in the cleaning material business and while working with his mother, he educated himself to mix chemicals for manufacturing cleaning materials. This allowed him to establish his own business. While working with him, I witnessed him buying expensive cars and a house in one of the affluent suburbs in Nelspruit, of which his friends who were highly schooled and held university degrees could not afford. He also hired some of his highly schooled friends to be sales representatives in his company.
THE REMEDY & METHODOLOGY TO RESCUE THE SA EDUCATION FROM “ICU”
This chapter compiled a list of recommendations on how to mend and reform the South African broken schooling system and education. In advising the Department of Education, I would suggest that it should build skills and talent-based schools which would cater for learners’ diverse talents and skills to avoid teaching them curriculums which they might never assist them towards their dreams. If you would not afford to build talent-based schools then I humbly and graciously request that in each currently existing school, you add additional structure which will entail facilities to sharpen our pupil’s talents. This does not take away sports facilities, computer labs with internet, libraries and introduce electronic learning as compulsory.
Secondly, The Department of Education has sub-departments or sections within. Example it has the HR Department/Section, Finance Department/Section, Transport Department/Section, School Inspectors’ Section, Bursary Section, Communication Section etc. I graciously request that the Department of Education add another section or sub-department within the Department which shall be called - Talent Based Department/Section. This section should accelerate our leaners talents or deal with learners’ talents, should also ensure that all SA learners in SA schools show off their talents, potential and creativity. It shall also ensure that all existing schools in South Africa add or build blocks of classes which will accelerate talents, skills and creativity of the South African children.
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