Through rose-colored glasses.

A Curro school in Pretoria has been put under the spotlight after parents complained of racism.  The allegations surfaced when parents complained about racial segregation. The matter obviously didn’t sit well with the affected parents who laid the complaint & has led Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lefusi to visit the school and make an inquiry which plans to enforce strict rules and regulations on independent schools. In responses to the enquiry from CEO of Curro Holdings, Chris van der Merwe who is not fazed by government intervention since private schools are protected by section 29 of the Constitution and that demand for private education over public schools remains strong.

Frans Cronje, CEO of institute of Race Relations condemned the way the school conducted itself and further pointed a positive side to the story stating that that there are now more private schools with a high intake of black children in early grades due to a growing middle black class.

Now, let’s talk about this – candidly; I don’t have any children but I am black, I have brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews and the list goes on. The state of our public schools has deteriorated and is at it’s lowest, it’s no surprise parents are not willing to put their children in public schools. Unfortunately, some parents cannot afford private education. Now, another reason black parents send their children to English schools is so their kids can have all the opportunities life has to offer and I know that going to a multiracial school affords a child so much more. You are in an mixed environment, this exposes one to different cultures and desensitises children from so called “racial divide”.  That’s what parents ultimately want; children who don’t see colour even though they themselves do.

I agree with Frans Cronje, yes we do have a growing middle class – no doubt. Should we then applaud private schools that their black numbers are high? It looks good on paper but I wonder, what is really happening in these schools? When it comes to racial issues, South Africa is walking on thin ice. The government wants to put regulations in place, to make sure that children are indeed intergrated in these schools. Yes, please do. Afterwards, tackle the shocking public school education so that children don’t have to suffer because their parents can’t afford to take them to “good” schools. Put the very strict regulations and follow the private school business model to make public schools competitive amongst other schools because I don’t for an second believe that our children are incapable, but if they are not challenged to their full potential then yes, they will continue to fail miserably due to the low standards that are set.

Something to think about:

Is it always black and white? Curro is a white owned company and they can do what they want really… right? Shouldn’t this be a lightbulb moment to black people – the growing middle class that everyone is raving about? Is it only because we are the big spenders? We bring in the money we grow other people’s businesses. Think about it. How do we invest in our own people and put public school at the helm of our education system; make them good enough for all. Transfer skills, start a private school entity. Reinvest in our own.

Now where do we start?

Source: Asha Speckman article in the Sunday Times (08/02/2015)


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