Education in Southern Africa (Education Around the World)

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Most independent church-run schools that provided a good education in black areas were shut. After Nelson Mandela became president in his government expanded access to schooling. It also replaced a school system segregated by race with one divided by wealth. Schools in poorer areas receive more state funding. But schools in richer areas can charge fees on top.

In theory these schools must admit pupils even if their parents cannot afford the fees.


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In practice they are fortresses of privilege. There are still about schools built from mud, mainly in the Eastern Cape. The Western Cape has some of the largest campuses in the southern hemisphere, with cricket pitches as smooth as croquet lawns. And yet money is not the reason for the malaise.

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Few countries spend as much to so little effect. In South Africa public spending on education is 6. More important than money are a lack of accountability and the abysmal quality of most teachers. This included teachers paying union officials for plum jobs, and female teachers being told they would be given jobs only in exchange for sex. The government has done little in response.

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Perhaps this is unsurprising; all six of the senior civil servants running education are SADTU members. Last year it successfully lobbied for the cancellation of standardised tests. And although parent-led school governing bodies are meant to hold teachers to account, they are more often controlled by the union, or in some cases by gangs.

But even if there were better oversight most teachers would struggle to shape up. In one study in maths teachers of and year-olds sat tests similar to those taken by their class; questions included simple calculations of fractions and ratios. The average year-old in Singapore and South Korea performs much better. It does not have to be this way. When the Union of South Africa was created in , it was a bilingual state, and thus both English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking schools were established for white Europeans.

Furthermore, a political tightness and separateness increased among the Afrikaners after the war and strengthened their tendency to exclude nonwhites from the cultural and political life of the dominant society. The trend toward separate schools for linguistic and racial groups became a rigid practice in most of South Africa after union. Church mission schools attempted to replace the preliterate tribal education of native Africans in the South African colonies.

Established from , they were dedicated to converting the indigenous peoples to Christianity and generally inculcating an attitude of service and subservience to whites. These schools spread from to , and colonial governments made occasional grants to them from Some mission schools included a mixture of races but, by and large, segregation was established by custom. Although some exemplary schools followed rather liberal social and curricular policies, most schools held to narrowly religious content in their curricula. The mission schools were virtually brought into the state system through government subsidies and through provincial supervision, inspection, and control of teaching , curriculum, and examination standards.

By the time the union was formed, the new provinces had each established school systems, structured mainly for European children but including provisions for other groups. Specific arrangements varied, but basically the systems were headed by a department of education under a director and controlled through an inspectorate. Three of the provinces had school boards that localized the department administration. Compulsory-attendance regulations were being effected for European children, while separate school developments were under way for other groups.

The language of instruction had been established provincially, with both Afrikaans and English in use.

The South Africa Act of left the control of primary and secondary education with the provinces, while reserving higher education to the union government. The Union Department of Education, Arts, and Science became the central educational authority and expanded its responsibilities by accepting control of special sectors such as vocational, technical , and artistic education. The passing of the tribal system was noted and efforts toward interracial cooperation complimented.


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  • It was obvious, however, that little of value to Africans was being done in the European-model schools and that noteworthy educational efforts were associated with special institutions, such as Lovedale School and University College of Fort Hare in the Cape. That legislation included the Bantu Education Act of The National Education Policy Act of and a subsequent Amendment Act in , along with the Constitution Act of , also reflected apartheid policy.

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    The provinces incorporated national policy into their own legislation and administration. Implementation of apartheid policy led to a near-total separation of educational facilities for white, black, Coloured mixed-race , and Indian Asian populations, with resulting divergence of opportunity between the extremes of black and white education.

    Administration of education was divided between national departments and provincial authorities. Because education was differentiated by race, four separate systems were established. Education for whites was controlled by the Minister of National Education, and provincial—federal coordination was accomplished through a National Education Council and a Committee of Heads of Education.

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    Education for Coloured and Indian population groups was administered through the legislative bodies representing these groups, the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates, respectively. All four systems were supposed to follow the same basic organizational and curricular patterns. For blacks outside the homelands, the Department of Education and Training administered education.

    Formal characteristics distinguishing the system of education for blacks included a slightly different school organization, designation of state-aided community schools with school committees, provision for limited African-language instruction, and separate administration. Although the government introduced a limited experiment in compulsory education, the dropout rate among blacks was high. Many pupils were educated in factory, mine, or farm schools that were less adequate than general schools. Teacher qualifications were lower for blacks than for the other groups.

    Illiteracy was high. Rural schools were crowded and short of materials. Few black pupils attended secondary schools. There were some attempts to close the gap between black and white education at both lower and higher levels. The government proclaimed the principle of equal educational opportunity and, from the s, sharply increased budget allotments for black education.

    Private and community efforts augmented schooling and introduced experimental integrated schools, and some private schools and white universities were opened to black students. Violence and fear intruded on township schools and on black universities during the apartheid period. By the Extension of University Education Act in , nonwhites were barred from entrance to white universities, and separate university colleges were set up on an ethnic-linguistic basis.

    This well-organized system of differentiating groups began to break down, however, as first English and then Afrikaans universities stated their policies of admission by merit, as university decisions and legislation opened nonwhite universities to other groups, and as protests against government quotas on university admissions became increasingly effective. The universities became centres of agitation against apartheid. A major government commission, conducted through the Human Sciences Research Council, in recommended that a single system of education under a single ministry be established.

    Although principles of the report were accepted, the government held to the cultural policy from which institutional separation was derived. The change from an ideological basis to a pragmatic basis for this separation, combined with the elimination of formal barriers to racial crossovers and black mobility in education, produced a policy that competed with revolutionary strategies for social change. Before the apartheid era came to an end during the early s, South Africa began to address the crisis in African education. An Education Renewal Strategy was released in The college of health sciences contains the medical school, and the college of law and management studies provides courses in law, business and management.

    Notable alumni of the university include a number of public servants, activists, poets and innovators. Researchers and students regularly engage in international collaborations with partners in other countries, aiming to tackle pressing challenges like AIDS, food security and high-tech developments. It was established as a technical school in and has become one of the most prestigious universities in Africa. The university is made up of nine colleges and one school, serving around 36, undergraduates and 4, postgraduates.

    The university was also a centre for literary activity and culture that formed a nationalistic identity in independent Uganda.

    Is SA bottom of the class in maths and science? WEF ranking is meaningless

    Academic colleges function as faculties, spanning natural sciences, business and management, health sciences, education and engineering. Halls of resident are generally split by gender, with one specific dorm for final year medical students. Join us. Skip to main content. Best universities in Africa. October 26 Share on twitter Share on facebook Share on linkedin Share on whatsapp Share on mail.

    But South Africa is the only country with a university in the top Student experience in Africa What are the biggest barriers facing young scientists? Top 5 universities in Africa 1.

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    Around 18 per cent of the student body are international. University of the Witwatersrand Wits University — as it is commonly known — is a public research university based in Johannesburg. There are around academic departments within 10 faculties, and many other research centres. University of KwaZulu-Natal The youngest university in the top five was formed from a merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville in Best universities in the world.

    Africa ranking top universities for students. Student insights on the best universities in Africa, with a snapshot ranking of the region. By Carly Minsky. Cheapest places to study at a top university. Germany, Italy, Sweden and many other countries offer low tuition to study at some of the world's best universities. By Tommaso Grant. Have your say Log in or register to post comments. Featured universities. Lynn University Video. University of Waterloo Video. Autonomous University of Baja California Video. University of Pretoria Video. I would like to study Xavier University of Louisiana Video.

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