A bridge too far?
On Thursday last week there was an interesting article in News 24 in which Rabelani Dagada, a lecturer at Wits Business School, and a Programme Director for ICT Governance and Risk Management, told a debate on affirmative action that the apartheid-era Bantu (Black) education was far better than what is now being taught under the new post-apartheid government (ANC).
I went to my good friend Google and Linkin to see who this Wits academic is and from what base he is making these statements. Needless to say I found a man who has walked the walk and is in a position to make this assertion without fear of contradiction or favour.
I have quoted from the news article by News 24 and added some of my own comments in italics.
“It was far better in terms of quality than the education that our kids are receiving nowadays. That is where the problem is”.
And we now have these children finishing school and university with an education that is not up to standard. Pass rates have been dropped to such low levels that you only need to know less than a third of a subject and that okay to pass you. Here in the workplace we have graduates who can barely put a paragraph together in a coherent manner that have English as a subject that was passed in Matric.
“Affirmative action should be about empowerment. The best way to empower is not to take from those who have and give to those who don’t have. It won’t work.”
This statement in various guises has been bandied around for a long time and in various countries. Yet the ANC has seen it fit to ignore this warning and taken as much as they possible could from those who had and kept it for themselves. They didn’t even take the time to consider that there many who had worked very hard to get where they were without the help of the previous government. By giving those who didn’t have, a push through the education system, we have skewed the education which is necessary to take our country into the future.
Dagada said South Africans could only be empowered through proper education.
“After 20 years of democracy, the education levels have plunged. It’s worse than the so-called Bantu education. The best way to do transformation, empowerment is to provide quality education.”
And from Pik Botha at the same function:
Former foreign affairs minister Pik Botha said South Africa, under the ANC’s leadership, had moved away from former president Nelson Mandela’s principles. He said the country’s affirmative action policies were mainly hurting the black majority.
“How much further down must all of us go before we say this is enough now? Our education is far behind, it is the worst in Africa, [but] it has the highest per capita expenditure.”
Botha said Zimbabwe’s education system was better than South Africa’s.
“When is this going to change? At state hospitals black patients must wait for three years for an operation.”
Botha said when Mandela became president, he was careful not to lose skilled white people.
“He said we must not lose the proficiency of the whites. They must not leave the public service, but they should help us to train people to achieve that same proficiency,” said Botha.
“They have now removed all those people.”