A fond farewell to you all

LITTLE is being done to help teachers develop a culture of human rights in their classrooms, a culture that will ultimately determine the success of our democracy. While we have a Constitution lauded by many as a blueprint for a modern democracy we have a rather different reality: crime, violence and a total disregard for human rights.

Public ”buy in” of our Constitution on the one hand, and confidence in the criminal justice system that is supposed to support it on the other, are at an all time low. The clearest indicator of this is the frightening trend towards mob justice. Of even more concern is that those exacting revenge are the children. Almost daily, we read reports of children rampaging in a mob, stoning, killing or destroying the property of a suspected criminal. Often enough, these children have acted without knowing whether their ”victim” is guilty. This is a clear sign that frustration and anger are pitching towards those dangerous heights where reason and responsibility have no place.

Children seem to think no one is looking after them — not parents, teachers, or the police — therefore they will do as they please. The scariest thought is that, given the kind of violence they confront in their homes, on the streets, and in the school grounds, they won’t give their actions a passing thought. What kind of adults will they become?

None of this bodes well for the future. More has to be done by teachers to develop a culture of respect and tolerance. That said, no one can blame educators for not knowing what to do, since they have had virtually no help. This month The Teacher begins the first of a 12-part series on how to build these values in the classroom. Called Celebrating Diversity, the project will span 18 months and will see the training of teachers and development of training videos. Hopefully this project will be a step towards building the peaceful society most of us would like to live in. So please collect these resources and let us know what you think of them.

After three extremely challenging years as Editor of The Teacher I have decided to move on and make way for a successor with new ideas and opinions. So now is the time to say a huge thanks to all those readers who have given us so much positive feedback and who have shown such enthusiasm for our newspaper. We have had more letters of praise than we’ve known what to do with, which has been very gratifying. Please keep reading The Teacher. There are many exciting projects in the pipeline and the publication is, thanks mostly to you out there (and to all our sponsors, advertisers and writers), moving from strength to strength.

Humba Kahle!

— The Teacher/Mail & Guardian, September, 2000.


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