Education and Independence: Education in South Africa, 1658-1988

Education and Independence: Education in South Africa, 1658-1988

Education and Independence: Education in South Africa, 1658-1988

Education and Independence: Education in South Africa, 1658-1988

Synopsis

Public education can be one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of a government wanting to maintain power, as it is the realm in which children are taught the social values and norms that will sustain the culture when they become adults. In South Africa, education was kept separate, unequal, and decidedly undemocratic, and as Hlatshwayo explains, it was used specifically to preserve and perpetuate inequality. In a work designed for historians and education professionals alike, he examines the tumultuous and highly politicized history of South African education and evaluates the prospects for its hopefully nonracialized future.

Excerpt

This book is about the relationship between formal education and the social production process over the course of South Africa's history. Social production process refers to those relations that exist at the heart of South African society and indicates the inherent logic of the relations and conflicts between the ruling descendants of White settlers and the African people who are native to the area. Education cannot be studied in a vacuum; it must be located within the broader context of linked political, social, and economic changes. In South Africa each of these aspects of social life is violently demarcated by ethnicity or "race."

Education, as a form of empowerment, has been used, historically, to reproduce -- as well as to resist -- the societal status quo. Schools are expected to perform a dual function: on one hand, they are to maintain traditional values; and on the other hand, they are to prepare the young members of the society to deal with the changing world. Thus, schools are usually the main agencies for the transmission of effective dominant cultures. Sarason (1971, 7) notes: "There are few, if any, social problems for which explanations and solutions do not in some way involve the public school -- involvement that may be direct or indirect, relevant or irrelevant, small or large. After all, the argument usually runs, the school is a reflection of our society as well as the principal vehicle by which its young are socialized or prepared for life in adult society."

Before Black rule in South Africa, education was used as a means of social control and to reproduce a docile labor force since the first school was established in 1658. Black schools were described as "hostages for . . .

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