Yesterday (Sunday 19th) was Mandela Day in which all South Africans are encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time to serving a good cause.

However, I find it odd that given how passionate Madiba was about education, we have a government that doesn't appear to value it at all.

I've said many times that the approach to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is wrong and when it became BBBEE it just ramped up the level of wrongness (is that a word?) about the whole business.

True BEE would be to level the academic field by raising the academic and sporting level of all government schools up to a level consistent with the private schools, but apparently, the government know more than I do and seem to have decided that investing in the failing schools and the schools in poorer communities is just not worth the investment, which I interpret as meaning that investing in the kids in poorer communities just isn't worth it. You might well guess from the nature of our ministry and what we've been involved with over the years that I/we do not hold with such a view. Rather, we are passionate about education and this is reflected in The Gathering's Homework Club and the fact that we are longing to expand it once resources permit.

But that is not the point of this post and neither is another rant about the government's ongoing failings, of which there are many.

The point of this post is this: we find ourselves along with every other parent of school age children in SA wondering just what is going on with our schools and when we might actually get some clear leadership on the coronavirus related issues affecting our children's education.

We currently sit in a position whereby the teaching unions and probably most parents (or at least those of kids in poorer communities where resources are lacking) want the schools to be closed again. For us this would be a mixed blessing, but we're also in the privileged position of our boys attending well resourced schools that are more than able to meet the educational needs of the learners whilst practicing safe teaching methods to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

The school year has already been smashed to pieces by the pandemic and it has turned in to a horrible year for the likes of Joel who are in their Matric year (final year of school), with Matric Balls and all other end of year events cancelled, leaving very little to look forward to.

Personally, I would happily see the school year cancelled and restarted next year but there are issues with that, just as there are some serious issues with schools just carrying on in the midst of the pandemic. Not least of which is the sickness and attendant absenteeism of the teaching staff, particularly in the schools in the poorer communities where the resources were never put in place to keep teachers and learners safe.

It all feels very messy with no clear sense of where it might all be going, but I guess that's the problem with weak leadership.

Apologies, I didn't mean to rant.


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