EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES: CONCEPT AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION. MODES OF DELIVERY. ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES
ARTICLE 32 of the South African constitution provides a framework within which educational objectives are to be defined:
The key question is where is education at present, where do we want it to go, how do we get there and what must we do to get it there.
It is generally acknowledged that, in the pre-democratic era, apartheid was a system which empowered white and consciously disempowered blacks in general and Africans in particular. This was particularly the case with the apartheid education system.
In the 1990ís the issue that has surfaced mostly in public debates and discussions has been the opening of historically whites exclusive schools to children from all sectors of the South African Society. The question of access to opportunities.
And the current debates are about the tendency to look at the future and educational standards thereof, without taking into account the effects of change on these schools as they are being transformed into non-racial institutions.
This has resulted in dilemmas of education such as the language.
The other dilemma is that the bulk of learners come from poor and working class families who hardly can afford to keep up with the costs of education. The education system on the other hand is geared towards preparing the learners to enter Universities, which are not only much more expensive, but are not even preferred by those who can afford, who would rather send their children to Technikons.
The course content and the educational curriculum also raises another dilemma, it does not relate to the daily experiences of the bulk of the learners, which means that the evaluation methods also do not directly impact on their experiences.
For instance, the majority of the learners play and follow soccer passionately, but the exam questions may be about cricket.
In the pre-democratic era, compulsory education was fully implemented for white kids, and to certain extent, for coloureds and Indians. The political objective of extending this compulsory education system to also cover Africans has not been backed up by the necessary resources, thus remains largely not implemented on the ground.
The ultimate question is whether education is intended to meet needs of an individual or those of society at large. I believe that the quality of the society in linked to that of the individuals that make up that society.
The government may be introducing new policies that are in line with the best in the world. But to the individual teacher, these are confusing, and at times contradictory. This put tremendous pressure on the individual teacher.