"Thousands of schools across South Africa are bursting with students who dream of being the accountants, engineers and doctors this country desperately needs, but the education system is often failing the very children depending on it most to escape poverty. Last year, seniors sang freedom songs and protested outside the staff room because their accounting teacher chronically failed to show up for class. The school once boasted a pass rate of more than 80 percent on the national exams given to seniors, a number that plummeted to 44 percent last year. Despite last year's episode, students seem to feel genuine affection for their school and speak of their hunger for knowledge and their faith in education to bring a better life. When teachers do not show up for class, students step in to lead the lesson. In the absence of a teacher, students discussed their work. Teacher absenteeism has been a major problem. "There's a lot of teachers who take sick leave," said one teacher, who asked not to be named as it would jeopardize his ability to work with colleagues. "They are not punctual in the morning. How do we expect learners to behave if we do not behave?"Joao Silva captures the vitality of the students and the challenges they face in his poignant NYTimes photoessay, An Impoverished Education.
20 September 2009
Impoverished Education ~ S African Challenges...
Celia Dugger's video and article in the NYTimes that Eager Students Fall Prey to Apartheid’s Legacy in S. Africa are painful to see...
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