Fifty years ago this month, the Freedom Charter boldly proclaimed for all to know: The doors of learning and culture shall be opened. It contains one of the best formulations of the right to education evident today:
Freshly painted in yellow and blue, Kamohelo Preschool in the township of Rammolutse at Viljoenskroon in the Free State, stands out from the row of shacks that surrounds it. This early childhood development (ECD) centre is, like so many dotted around South Africa, struggling to provide an education foundation to preschoolers in the bleak terrain of dire poverty.
At a recent GDE (Gauteng department of education) conference on inclusion, someone from the floor asked when we can expect full inclusion to take place in our schools. The speaker, an official representing the Department of Education (DoE), said that the date it is working towards is 2024.
In August, I was asked to share some of the “cutting-edge essence” of my 35 years of experience with OBE in two seminars at the University of Pretoria. It was an exciting day for me - an opportunity to address some of the most basic concepts surrounding OBE thinking and practice in South Africa and elsewhere, and to respond to a host of deep and challenging questions about learners, learning and learning systems.
Umbumbulo, a rural village near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, was the scene of brutal conflict in the early 1990s between the Inkatha Freedom Party and African National Congress, which left orphans, widows and a shattered community in its wake.
It is Baghdad on a winter morning chilled by yet another power cut and parents are dropping off their children for school. A vast generator rumbles so loudly in the street that it shakes the pink swings and blue roundabouts in the small grass playground outside.
It took just 10 minutes for Judge Wilfred Thring to rule that Mikro Primary's school governing body (SGB) had the right to make its own decisions about language policy, and that the Western Cape minister of education, Cameron Dugmore, was wrong to force the school to accommodate English-speaking learners.
By all appearances, the property looks like any other in the affluent neighbourhood of Parktown West, Johannesburg. But once inside the reception area of the house, the multitude of pictures and photos packed on every wall suggests that this is no ordinary house.
Although local is lekker (and cheaper), almost local can be just as lekker. Swaziland might be just a trip across the border, but it's a whole new world. There is something in the clear mountain air of Swaziland that makes you forget South Africa is only a heartbeat away.
Grade 12 learners around the country wrote English Home Language Paper 2 today. <i>The Teacher</i> spoke to Lorraine Swift at Despatch High School in the Easetern Cape to get her opinion on the examination paper.
The year was 1969, my first year of teaching. The last day of the school year at Doornfontein Primary had arrived. Everyone in my standard two (grade four) class was excited. At 12pm the bell would ring shrilly to announce the start of the December holidays.