Education in South Africa
Education is to some extent a dirty word in South Africa. It is a subject that evokes many emotions whether around the dinner table, at home or in the work place.
Suffice to say we in this country have not done a good job over the past 20 years. This is more evident in rural areas than in the urban areas.
If you take a drive in a rural area, for example the Lowveld area of Mpumalanga, at any time of school day you will find learners walking around, simply doing nothing. How come? No one ever seems quite sure. Last week my wife was doing her community duty an NGO based in the UK, went to a school to find that most of the teachers and learners had left to go to a memorial service. Surely this is wrong.
Much of the problem appears not only to be the learners themselves but inept leadership that is poorly trained and who do not have the same empathy for their work as many other teachers.
It amazes me that the for exactly the same pay the teachers at a private school and good government schools put in long hours, do extra mural activities and are fully dedicated for the same salary as those teachers at many of the rural schools idly waiting for the end of the day, devoid of initiative and waiting for the next pay cheque. At the same time these same teachers belong to a union who argue for salary increases on behalf of these inept, lazy people.
Yes, the above may be a generalisation but it is far more common than is generally known or accepted. Yes there are wonderful schools, some rural, some working under difficult conditions, how they work this way is a credit to the school. But should it be this way?
It also brings to question the wonderful work done by NGO’s in this field. Often the NGO is not recognised, certainly by the powers that be. These NGO’s pour money, resources into the field and together with Out-Reach bodies run by “privileged” schools form a considerable service to these schools.
We at VBX, are a small connectivity company supplying Internet and VoIP services. Our company has its roots in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga and have knowledge of both the urban and rural school environment. We currently have an Outsource contract with Uplands College one of the top private Schools in the country. Uplands have an outreach arm as has Penryn College with Penreach being one of the best known Outreach operations in the country. Another organisation is 2Enable offering content to schools.
We are sure many other companies as well would like to help. Yes it would be commercial but it is not a question of money it is the ability to give a service. Without bandwidth at a reasonable cost we are unable to bring the Internet to these schools. If we could do this then we could help with training, meshing classrooms together, into a bringing knowledge to the classroom via the Internet, so much becomes possible.
We can’t resolve many of the problems above but companies like ours could certainly help. VBX is interested in involving itself in this field. Give VBX and other similar companies the tools and we can do the job!