Parenting and politics
Just spending 15 minutes with your kids could mean a world of difference.
Jay Naidoo was on John Robbie’s show the other morning talking about the state of the nation. It seems that he is very worried about the future of our beautiful country. While listing numerous “challenges” we “all have to face” he made mention of an alarming statistic, which should be worrying for every parent in the country.

According to Naidoo 60% of our school kids can’t read or write. I assumed he was referring to kids who are of an age where they were expected to be able to read and write. If this is indeed the case, it is a frightening state of affairs, given that these children will struggle through the school system until eventually being spewed out at the back end of grade 12 with rather delicate literacy skills.

Naidoo criticised the wage gap between workers and bosses. Apparently most general workers take home  less that R6k a month, while most bosses “have received large increases in some cases more than 23%”.  Robbie hit back saying that this was the profit model, and that companies are geared to make bigger and bigger profits, even if it has to contend with an unskilled labour force.

The obvious conclusion is that the education figures will greatly add to maintaining the wage gap status quo. The kids who can’t read or write are largely from impoverished communities who have to make do with basic government education, which according to Naidoo often involve teachers “who don’t show up for work.”

The kids who will secure good jobs and go on to earn the big pay hikes are those from middle and upper class families. And so the status quo continues.  In the end it’s a sad state of affairs given that we will always be viewed as a country in its entirety and 60% will always trump 40%.

Naidoo advocates that we as parents take greater responsibility for our children’s education. He admits that the government has not achieved its goals in education, but says “we all have a responsibility” to meet the challenges we’re faced with as a nation.

He wants us to protest and demand better education, and he suggests that when teachers don’t show up for work, for example, we as parents need to hold them accountable. It seems noble doesn’t it? But, I’m guessing that a mother or father of a brood of children in an impoverished community has a lot more on their plate in terms of putting food on the table, to worry about their kids’ education.

And this is probably why communities protest in anger. Think about it, you’re busting your gut trying to make ends meet, you live in a RDP house (if you’re lucky) that has been badly built, your general service delivery sucks, and now your  beautiful, intelligent child is being reduced to a dunce by an inept education system. I would not have the time to go and protest or follow up on teachers behaving ineffectually, but I would probably explode in the same way if it was not being remedied.

In the final analysis though our kids remain our responsibility, and reading and writing remains the cornerstone of any education, be it formal or not. A mere 15 minutes a day reading a book with your kid or teaching them the basics of writing will go a long way in alleviating the statistics.

Do you help your kids when it comes to their education?

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