Picture this: December, 1990. (said in the voice of Sophia from The Golden Girls)
Matric exams and all the after parties are done. The day the Matric results come out we all descend on the school and buy the newspaper with a mixture of excitement and a little trepidation as now we have to start growing up. We knew that we had studied hard and we knew that we had been in a good school and felt safe and supported by our teachers.
This morning I read this article on News24 and I am furious. To say the least.
I have written several posts this year about schools with Daniel going to Grade R next year and we have found a great school. We will also agree on a great High School when the time comes. Not a private school, because we simply cannot afford it with 3 children, but a really good government school. A school where there are teachers for all the subjects, where children can depend on teachers to teach them and not behave like delinquents themselves. A school where teachers will care enough to
point out to us when our children need an intervention of sorts. As parents we want to be involved in what our children learn, we want to teach them things they will never learn in a classroom.
We will choose a school where many of the children won’t drop out in Grade 10 or be in their mid-20’s when they finally Matriculate. There will probably be the odd fail or teenage pregnancy or child that disappears for a few months to go to rehab (hell, one of those might even be one of ours), but they would be the exception.
But all in all we hope to raise children, with the help of great teachers, that will turn out to be responsible, respectable, adults that will go out into the world and be the best they can.
We will probably be on the very strict end of the parenting scale, but I hope that we will make our children carry the consequences of their own actions and not cover them in cotton wool so that they leave our house ill-equipped to deal with LIFE.
According to the News24 article “We are calling on all learners not to buy newspapers on the day results are published. These newspapers are only interested in making money while the students are enduring trauma,” said Mani.
I’m curious. How have we failed these children that they will be traumatised by their Matric results?
Who is to blame?
The collective angst of society that makes these children feel that they will amount to nothing anyway?
A government that is more concerned about hiding things from the public through the Protection of State Information Bill than building a proper education system and making sure that their teachers teach?
I know I’m taking a very simplistic view, but I have been watching all this madness in South Africa this week and I am very worried for our children. We as parents can teach our children what we want, but how do we make them believe what we try to teach them when we live in a country where (even less than) mediocrity is acceptable and often even the norm?