of its educational transformation and in the middle of shedding the remnants of its apartheid (separateness)education and launching into a new democratic curriculum that is intended to produce good informed citizens. The past curricula in South Africa, "perpetuated race, class, gender and ethnic divisions that emphasised separateness, rather than common citizenship and nationhood. It is therefore imperative that the new curriculum be structured to reflect the values and principles of South Africa's new democratic society." Nkomo (1990)
Maylam (2001) states that," South Africa's educational history cannot be separated from the apartheid ideology of racial discrimination because such racial segregation was institutionalised within the educational system."
South Africa was and still continues to be deeply a stratified nation that is marked by hierarchical access to knowledge, schooling and learning. There is little chance of a democratic nation as long as there this stratification continues unbroken. It is preliminary reflection on post-apartheid education Nkomo (1990:303) stated that, "the new education system must foster the liberation of the person, unleashing the full potential of the person to play vital role in the development of a society bound together by a social contract that upholds a cohesive national consciousness by radicalism remoulding the teaching, organisation and training of the youth". However, the profound effects of the apartheid legacy constitute barriers to an equal society and may provide challenges that far exceed the possibilities of the present educational endeavours to create an equitable society in the immediate future. South Africa's transformational education project has been grounded in the apartheid education. There has been much discourse on the South African education system, but it is not possible to escape history overnight.
Get your grade
or your money back
using our Essay Writing Service!
The South Africa's Department of Education have adopted the Outcome Based Education (OBE) model and developed a Curriculum 2005 (C2005). As expected, because this transformation is so recent, there are not published studies focusing on the perspectives of teachers with regard to the new curriculum and the theory of teaching in South Africa. The advent of Outcomes Based Education came as a surprise to teachers because there was no advocacy, consultation or proper training. While there are emerging are critiques and concerns about South Africa's new educational theory of teaching and curriculum, the missing component of these educational discourses is that of teachers themselves. Black teachers in South Africa are still silent within the dominant discourses of educational transformation, education policy, professional development, and teaching and learning.
Change and theory of teaching in post-apartheid South Africa.
Education of Black people in South Africa, during Dutch, British and the National Party (the then ruling party in South Africa) rule has a brutal history. "Their missionary zeal to Christianise the "heathen Kaffir" (Molteno, 1986) and to educate him for menial labour violated indigenous principles of education and stripped blacks of their human dignity, cultural roots and history." Molteno, (1986); Wilson and Ramphele, (1989). However, race as a role signifier for educational access was not institutionalised until the early 1950s. In 1948 the National Party legitimised apartheid through the implementation of a number of legislative acts, for an example The Race Classification Act and the Group Areas Act of 1950. The National Party also legislated inferior, segregated schools for Africans in 1953, Coloureds in 1963, and Indians in 1965." Bassey (1999)
According to Molteno, (1986:93). The Group Areas Act was intended to: "remove all the black people of the time physically from the context in which the wealth of the land was owned and controlled, Bantu, Coloured and Indian Education was designed to help remove them psycho-ideologically, and resettle them in the separate places of subordination".
While physical separation of black people was an important aspect of the divide and rule mentality of the apartheid regime, the system of Bantu, Coloureds and Indian Education which aimed at the minds of the black people. Molteno, (1986:94) states that he apartheid regime recognised that "the greatest and danger to White exploitation and domination is the political consciousness of the masses of the oppressed people" and again "the acquaintance with and knowledge of history of the liberatory movement in other parts of the world, and their unity purpose which transcends racial or ethnic differences at the very foundation of the social, economic and political structure." Thus separate education for the four race groups attempted to control the direction of thought, limit the boundaries of knowledge and communication and condition the black mind for subordinated positions in society.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Molteno, (1986) and Bassey, (1999) argue that "the main focus of separate education was not necessarily an attempt to deny educational opportunity but was more so a calculated attempt to protect White privilege, institutionalise social control, subvert black South African's political and economic aspirations and distort the ideological contents of apartheid."
Curriculum change and teaching practice is seen as the centrepiece in the transformation of education and society. On the initiatives of the new democratic government over the past 17 years in South Africa, the main two were the adoption of OBE by the Department of Education and then introduction of a new Curriculum 2005. The move to OBE challenged the assumptions education nurtured for the four race groups in South Africa. South Africa's Curriculum 2005 emphasises lifelong learning as a strategic intervention for transforming educational standards and levels and claims to contribute to social justice, equity and development.
My engagement with the issue of education and its role at that time to liberate the oppressed people in South Africa started in the early 70s. As a student and a teacher in Limpopo Province in South Africa, I was disillusioned with the education I received (which was said to be of a Christian character) and was later to subject my student to when I began teaching. During school visit in both rural and urban schools, I perceived a lack of understanding of the OBE model among teachers. My interactions with the teachers were limited to short discussions; the teachers themselves always geared the conversation to changes as a result of curriculum 2005. Teachers were apprehensive about the curriculum change because they were not receiving sufficient guidance and training with regards to either of these reforms. They also cited the lack of available resources as a hindrance to the successful implementation of curriculum 2005. One also witnessed hope and optimism among teachers whose schools were located in the most marginalised areas of South Africa. It was this sense of optimism that spurred my efforts to learn about those teachers who are creating opportunities to empower the students through the mandated curriculum.
The Education in South Africa prior 1994.
Historically education in South Africa was a primary site for institutionalising and perpetuating the social organisation of apartheid. Within the South African apartheid education, each race group received a different culture of learning that attempted to develop particular mindsets, so as to maintain apartheid status quo. Very simply put, the White population was educated to be the leaders and the Blacks as subservient workers, while all of colour in South Africa Blacks Coloureds and Indians, were allowed some privileges in this hierarchy that were denied to the Africans (apartheid racial terms used here to illustrate inequality).
Specifically according to Nkabinde (1997:8) Bantu Education in 1953 ensured a legacy of separate and unequal education that served as sites of apartheid indoctrination to:
Produce a semi-skilled labour force to minister the needs of the capitalist economy at the lowest possible cost and to blunt competition with White workers.
Socialise black students so that they can accept the social relations of apartheid is neutral, that is, to accept the supposed superiority of Whites and their own inferiority.
Forge a consciousness and identity accompanied by a sense of superiority among Whites.
Promote the acceptance of racial or ethnic separation as the natural order of things, or as an arrangement better suited for South Africa's complex problems of national minorities that can only be solved through the separation of the races or ethnic groups.
Promote black intellectual development by minimising the education of educational resources for Whites.
Soweto (South West Township, a black residential area for black people in South Africa) Riots.
The 1976 Soweto uprisings were the defining moment for black learners in the struggle for equal education and national freedom. According to Kallaway (1986:20) "the resulting upsurge of student power demonstrated through the school boycotts and the latter 70s and 80s was a clean sign of resistance to education for domestication."
Outcomes-Based-Education (OBE) in South African schools.
Different countries introduced Outcomes Based Education (OBE) for different reasons. According to Acharya (2003) "the increasing call for accountability was a major reason for the rapid spread of various forms of outcomes based education in countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia during the 1980s and 1990s." The implication is that outcomes based education was introduced to improve the standard of education. The ever increasing changing technology calls for highly skilled people in the workforce; the outcome based education seems to be relevant to that. Acharya (2003) has mentioned a number of reasons that Outcomes Based Education also benefits the learners. Such reasons are that "Outcomes Based Education is able to measure what the students are capable of doing. Outcomes Based Education goes beyond structured tasks such as memorisation as it demands demonstration of skill by students." Looking at these reasons, it can be realised that Outcomes Based Education, if implemented effectively, it can be a tool for bringing about improvement in many school systems.
This Essay is
a Student's Work
Outcomes Based Education focuses on the achievement of specific outcomes by learners. These outcomes match knowledge and acquired skills in the classroom with those needed in the workplace. Critical outcomes emphasise "creativity, working together, solving problems, using technology responsibly and integration" (Department of Education Policy document 1997). In South Africa, Outcomes Based Education was introduced as a way of transforming the education system and raising standards. According to Van der Horst and McDonald (1997) South Africa has introduced Outcomes Based Education for a number of reasons, "to provide equity in terms of educational provision and to promote a more balanced view, by developing learners' critical thinking powers and problem-solving abilities." When there were different educational systems with different curricula for different races in South Africa, there was no equity in those systems as some were better than the others.
The concept of lifelong learning is also emphasised in Outcomes Based Education. Welch states that, Outcomes Based Education was implemented in South Africa, not only to keep abreast of international trends, but also to produce school learners who are well equipped to play a responsible and creative role in the workplace and in society." (Welch 2000)
According to Naicker (1999) "Outcomes Based Education was introduced in South Africa. As the Ministry of Education had to move from apartheid education and introduce the new curriculum in the interest of all South Africans." As these have been swift changes in the world, schools also had to change and not to teach from old-style textbooks, where the information could be outdated. Of course South Africa is part of a larger world and has also to compete with other countries; learners have to develop the skills needed to be competitive in the workplace.
Malan (1997: 8) argues that, "South Africa is part of the international community and as such; it is influenced by changes in paradigm shifts that take place in other parts of the world." The introduction of Outcomes Based Education in South Africa applies to all schools. Looking at Outcomes Based Education characteristics, that is, beliefs, premises and principles it is an education that concentrates on the learner and the outcomes the learner should achieve. Every learner is acknowledged as an individual. No learner is seen as more important than the other. Everyone is accommodated in an inclusive learning environment.
Educational Reforms in South Africa.
Over the past 17 years, the education system in South Africa is still struggling with a wide range of other reforms which are not immediate like the restructuring of higher education, the minimum age entry to grade 1. It is surprising that the review of the implementation of Curriculum 2005, described the introduction of a new curriculum is but one "of a plethora of new activities and policies of vying for attention: the restructuring of national and provincial education departments, finance and governance of education, rationalisation and redeployment of teachers and creation of new legislative frameworks for policy across the spectrum of fields." Review Committee (2000:3-4).
Formal discussions revolve around an organisational and pedagogical model for large scale retraining of teachers in a new curriculum. The original Curriculum 2005 was based on the cascade model, which meant that a core of people who were trained in the new curriculum would then train district officials. These officials were expected to cascade the information to classroom teachers, usually during in-service courses. No follow-up support and monitoring in the classrooms took place.
According to Bell (1991) such an approach "maybe to theoretical, may not have practical application in the classroom, maybe based on the choices of the providers and ignore teacher expertise." In contrast to these Bell (1991:21) she advocates "a model of professional development where practitioners exert control over their own development, with in a framework of the school's own development plan."
School-based approach can certainly be expected to better promote ownership and innovation teacher expertise and relevance to the classroom. The problem for South Africa with the reforms, however, is that it is not crystal clear how much school-based approach can promote a national process of the curriculum reform, especially in a situation where there is such a scarcity of people who are trained as facilitators, whether inside or outside the schools. In the eyes of the education planner policymaker, the cascade model looks quick and cheap to all out a plan and politically attractive, even though its educational effectiveness is not practical.
The other former discussion is the need for policy coherence. Those are expected to implement new policies will not do so if they do not understand the contents of the policy or its purpose. Packer (2001:25) call this "systemic fatigue, weight, teachers and Attending weekly workshops, training, which are not co-ordinated, or of particular relevance and serve more to disrupt teaching than develop it."
In a country like South Africa, where there is so much activity around educational reform it is important that formal discussions be considered as part of the decision-making process about interventions. Reforming initiatives must be well planned before embarking on paths that are not cost-effective which may lead the country nowhere.
Fullan (1991:49) argued that, "change is difficult and slow that even moderately complex changes take three to five years, while major restructuring efforts can take five5 to ten years." In South African situation, though there are major changes that need take place, and these need to happen quickly with limited resources.
According to Darling-Hammond (1998) education change is "something that is a constraint, which continually provides challenge to those who are responsible for the changes." Educational reforms are notorious for not achieving what they set out to achieve. The main reason for these setbacks is that the main stakeholders continue to be left out of the process, asked to perform tasks that they do not have the knowledge to do or are not prepared for.
Reforms which enable change in schools need to look closely at the precise details of how stakeholders can be helped to ensure that they are able to make meaning out of these reforms and the changes which they are required to bring about, especially teachers. According Villegas-Reimners & Reimners, (1996) "attitudes and behaviour are strong influences on the outcomes of the reforms and this needs to be recognised and acknowledged along with their prior knowledge and experience in order to create meaningful change." Duke (2004) states that, "many reform creators have in effect lost touch with the teachers and students, resulting in educators often resisting change," teachers are sometimes inclined to resist change because of fear of the unknown, they don't want to take a risk and they don't understand the need for change. Again according to Duke (2004) "education needs a certain amount of continuity for meaningful change to care."
South Africa tried to implement education performs with the intention of redressing inequalities of the past. Policymakers who had intentions of completely destroying imbalances generated a large number of policies tailored to address different challenges that have been recognised in the years since the dismantling of apartheid. However, policymakers in their endeavour to change an entire education system overnight appear to have ignored many factors which affect the performance and reforms. Apartheid left a nearly impossible damage the policymakers in their endeavour to create the changes they desire appear to have disregarded these challenges. Face the reality of what is going on in the schools in South Africa is necessary. There is no policy that can remove what has been done, but dealing with what has been left behind would be a point of departure.
The policy created by the government in an endeavour to address inequalities of the past week created in a vacuum. Emphasis was put on creating change that was in opposition to apartheid education, but neglecting significant aspects of creating effective and durable reforms. The other problem in my opinion and has been the exclusion of teachers as people who do the spade work in the process of creating reforms.
Financial reforms have not been dealt with so the problem continues. The problems are no longer based on race but on socio economic crisis. Considering the majority of the South Africans do not have a strong financial muscle to pay for schooling, they are forced to accept the in adequate education the more disadvantaged schools are able to offer them.