Learning from the experience of others Engaging with controversial issues in South Africa and the UK The Seeking Ubuntu project
August 2005 My memories of the trip: • Universal pride in National Curriculum/ Constitution • Energy & Enthusiasm of teachers • Challenge of equality of school provision • Impact of HIV/AIDS on teachers and pupils • Job adverts
South Africa - Kwa-Zulu Natal Durban • This was my first visit to South Africa. • The group went on a walking tour of Durban on National Women’s Day - with ‘Vincent’.
Visits to schools • During our visit we visited Primary & Secondary schools in a variety of locations from: Leafy Durban Girls High School, to Township Primaries.
Reflecting on own situation • The dominance of Word processed documents in UK • Our ‘pride’ in the National Curriculum? • The hidden systems / management structures • The lack of S.Africa in UK school curriculum
‘Alarm sounds as AIDS claims 11 teachers a day’MacGregor 2005‘Young teachers are dying’McGreal 2005 The life expectancy at birth in South Africa has reduced from 62 years (born 1990-1995) to an expected 42 years (born 2005-10). At present (born 2000-2005) the life expectancy without AIDS would be 67 years, with AIDS it is 49 years (UN population division).
‘Efforts to build an educational system in a post-apartheid era are being stymied by the loss of personnel to the disease, and a severe shortage of teachers and professors over the next decade is anticipated.’(Worldwatch Institute 2005) HIV/AIDS is killing teachers and pupils. The ELRC report (2005) estimates that over 12% of South African public school teachers are HIV positive. Botswana has reduced its teacher training program from 3 years to 6 months in order to keep enough teachers in the system.
Visiting schools we couldn’t fail to notice the lists of absent pupils on the blackboards. • Many pupils arrive in school stressed from caring for sick parents, under nourished and exhausted from working to keep the family afloat. The increasing number of orphans is another real issue for South African schools. • A survey of 250 schools found 23-24% of enrolled pupils are orphans (single, double or missing parents) Badcock-Walters 2005
ITE • The visit has impacted on my own ITE contributions • Controversial issues e.g. HIV/AIDS within PGCE course
Trainee Teachers Views on Controversial Issues • Their responses included comments relating to their role: • a) of educating the next generation for this planet they share and will be part responsible for; • b) as educators promoting and valuing equal opportunities amongst their classes; and • c) within the ‘safe environment of the classroom’ of tackling real issues.
Trainee views Controversial topics should be taught as it is these issues that could shape the world of the future. AIDS and other controversial / taboo issues should be taught cross curricular. AIDS for example needs awareness and action and I believe the teachers of the future have a duty to inform and promote a response from future generations. Teaching Controversial Issues should be integrated into all subjects to prepare pupils for later life and to help them explore complex issues relating to other people.
Dynamic Leadership • We were impressed with the dedicated teachers and Head-teachers we met on our trip.
How important are IWBs? • At a time in the UK when Behaviour Management is a major reason cited for leaving the profession, and trainees complain they are expected to teach without an IWB!!
Inequalities • Major challenge to bring all schools to the same standards. • Many of the educational issues in S.Africa are similar to the issues facing us in the UK.