Great move by ANC to protect our education
Dr NS Kekana
The recent announcement by the governing ANC that education is to be declared an essential service is the best announcement for 2013 so far.
The majority of South African parents are poor and have no choice about where or how their children are educated. And therefore if education is not
declared an essential service, one must ask why the state is providing it at all.
Education in our nation is in a very bad state.
We do not have to rehash the many wrongs that are to be found in our education system. Those wrongs affect the development of our nation, the economy and the future of many families and individuals.
In making education an essential service, the ANC is not saying that education has problems because of teachers’ actions. What it is saying is that teachers are one of the contributory factors, not even the biggest factor, to the dysfunctional education system that we find ourselves in.
Education should be regarded as an essential service because then the education offered at poor government schools will be protected in the same manner as it is at private schools.
The so-called public education in this nation is a monopoly of the state. Only rich parents can afford private schools.
Also, it is only in government schools that teacher strikes disrupt the smooth running of lessons. Poor parents therefore become victims of disrupted education because they cannot afford private education.
Nobody can argue that it is important for our children to get a good education, especially children from poor families. Rich families can still afford to take their children to good, expensive schools because they can afford to. This is a luxury that poor parents do not have.
The idea here is that if we can get the human resource factor right, it may be easier to attend to other contributory factors.