Education transformation – Onslaught can only be stopped by coordinated action

FF Plus

Education transformation - Onslaught can only be stopped by coordinated action
Education transformation - Onslaught can only be stopped by coordinated action

While political campaigns for the local government elections are well underway, the government-driven programme for transformation on all levels of education is rapidly gaining momentum.

A great cause for concern is that the governing bodies of schools and universities are actively helping it along. Against this backdrop, the outcome of the local government elections may have a great impact.

In basic education, transformation is taking place on both the micro as well as the macro level.

The recent decision by the DF Malan High School to change its name to the DF Academy is just one more example in a long list of decisions to reject the past. In a written statement on the matter, the school governing body said that it was the next step in “disconnecting” the school from the former political figure.

While on the macro level, the Department is in the final phase of implementing a “new, inclusive and decolonised” syllabus for history in schools. The current syllabus, specifically with regard to the way the information is expressed in the textbooks, is already anti-Western in general historical terms; and militant anti-white and anti-Afrikaner in terms of South African history.

If the Department still felt that it was “too Western orientated”, the latest attempt to re-write our history may be nothing but pure propaganda.

It is, of course, the milieu created on the macro level that causes a school governing body, such as that of the DF Malan High School, to feel that it cannot afford to waste any time in “disconnecting” from its historical roots.

On the tertiary education level, the Department has actively been driving a policy to anglicise universities since 2003. The fact that other indigenous languages were not developed to university level is used as a pretext to downgrade Afrikaans. Once again, the Department did not need to take any action. University authorities themselves ensured the downfall of Afrikaans as academic language, quite possibly to win departmental favour.

One reason why these departments and educational institutions were able to take such unilateral action is the perception that Afrikaners and Afrikaans speakers support their decisions. It seems to relate directly to the policy of parties that had the majority of communities’ support in elections since 1994.

However, the FF Plus’s significant growth in the 2019 general elections placed Afrikaans, among other things, back on the public agenda.

Although the party continuously opposed the Department’s aims, the general impression was that the parties that support those aims where the ones who amassed the majority of Afrikaner votes. After the results, though, stakeholders across the board were forced to reconsider the need to retain Afrikaans, as well as the need to remain historically rooted.

The municipal elections of 2021 are not only important for determining access to proper municipal service delivery, but also for access to education in Afrikaans.

Those who value Afrikaans must take note of the broader context in which they find themselves. Long-term planning for Afrikaans as university language needs to be done while the decline of the language at public universities ought to be stopped.

In the meantime, the FF Plus is doing everything in its power to improve the environment so that institutions, like Akademia, can flourish. Thus, an unwavering stance was taken against the view of the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, that private institutions for higher education must follow the same language policy as public universities.

Furthermore, the private institutions that meet all the requirements must be allowed to be called universities. They must also be allowed to confer the title of professor on academics who deserve the honour. The FF Plus has taken a stand for all these rights in Parliament and will continue to do so.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr. Wynand Boshoff on FF Plus