Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
Trade union Solidarity today voiced its concern over the decline in the number of Afrikaans schools but is not concerned about Afrikaans education. Afrikaans schools are faring well. There may be fewer of them but they have become larger, and offering world-class education in Afrikaans is still possible.
This follows after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga indicated in parliament that the demand for Afrikaans education has declined; hence the decline in the number of Afrikaans schools.
According to Flip Buys, chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, what has happened is that learners migrated between schools as a result of the process to convert schools to double medium schools, which ultimately would bring about Anglicisation.
A major reason for the decline in the number of schools can be found in the fact that no new schools are being built, and many of the existing schools are being neglected or have fallen into disuse. “However, migration brought about bigger and stronger Afrikaans schools,” Buys said.
Buys contends that fewer Afrikaans schools does not necessarily mean fewer Afrikaans learners. “The need still exists as Afrikaans schools offer some of the best schools in South Africa,” Buys said.
Solidarity is engaged in talks with various stakeholders in the Afrikaans education environment in an effort to find solutions for the future of Afrikaans education. The main focus is on the following aspects:
- Training of more Afrikaans teachers – Aros is already training more than 1 000 Afrikaans primary school teachers;
- The Rapport Education Fund;
- Continuous development of teachers by Helping Hand’s Support Centre for Schools – this centre has already reached hundreds of teachers through successful conferences this year;
- Assistance for needy children – Helping Hand’s nutrition project reaches 5 000 pre-school children per day;
- Helping Hand providing in the need for school supplies;
- Methods to protect the autonomy of public schools;
- Financial independence of schools;
- Better cooperation between stakeholders in the education environment;
- Where necessary, we will also investigate the feasibility of Afrikaans private schools; and
- Helping Hand’s Support Centre for Schools is investigating the possibility of making use of technology similar to that of Akademia.