According to a report recently released by the Ministry of Education, lack of textbooks is the single biggest problem plaguing South African education. This became clear to Mark Horner when he attended the National Science Festival in Grahamstown in 2001.
By the time Stevens* parents came to Margaret Logan at Rosemeade Private School, they were at their wits end. Their son had been expelled from three schools. He was doing drugs, despised authority and had a criminal record pending. Even Logan, who had been a remedial teacher for 25 years, was intimidated.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the principal of Saxonsea Primary in Atlantis, Loran Klaasen, doesn't think he's a hero. "I am a catalyst. All I am doing is inspiring other people," he shrugs.
"When they leave our school at some stage," says the principal of United Herzlia Schools, Geoff Cohen, of his learners, "hopefully they leave as a mensch." That last word -- mensch -- captures something of the cultural diversity that the term "Jewish" embraces. It's not Hebrew. It's Yiddish, a language dating back to the Middle Ages spoken by Jews in Eastern European countries.