Collecting and making

Schools have opened again in South Africa and my little preschool is working hard to deliver excellent schooling to all children.

At the same time I am working hard on creating and purchasing sensory teaching aids for the blind and deaf children at the Tshilidzini Special school. I will be going in about 2 weeks time to help and assist the teachers. We also want to get a local African artist to paint a nice mural to brighten up the drab environment of the doormrooms.

I need to purchase paint, ornaments, fruit and veg for a better diet for the children, mattresses and some CD players. I have put together a collection of music CDs that are ideal to teach with.

The South African educational system lacks on every level. Education, public schooling, is expensive. The government is not putting the taxes into education (nor into roads, health care etc. It goes into villas and luxury cars). Teachers haven’t heard of pedagogics and are very little schooled in education theory, educational psychology, scientific background.

Sigh.

In Africa, you do never know where to start. Jump in and believe that every drop of sweat you put in has the power to drive away the darkness. Prayers are welcome.

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2 thoughts on “Collecting and making”

  1. Hi – congrats on the great work you are doing. It must be said that not all teachers are as under-skilled as those that you have encountered. It is a sad reality that Tshilidzini is an apartheid legacy where teachers in “black” schools were not even required to have any post-school qualification as long as they towed the apartheid line. Some would have done a 1 year teachers certificate or two year diploma and there was no theory or pedagogy covered in these pathetic courses (which were only available at “black” teacher training colleges because the teachers of white children had to obtain a 4 year diploma minimum). This is why it is so important to continue the work that you are doing in empowering and motivating. A little support and encouragement can go a long way… Of course there are always those who are happy to sit on their rear ends and do nothing until they can retire… but they will be the minority and will feel the need to make a change when the others around them catch the “enthusiasm bug”. I trust that your visit to the school goes well.

    1. Hi, thanks a lot for your thorough reply to this little post. The thing is, as a German I do not follow your logic completely. How long ago is it that the government changed? 20 years? The current staff are mostly not over 40 years old, thus they have been trained in the new era. The older staff had also 20 years of opportunity to get further training provided for free by the government. I see staff members enjoying you tube videos on their smart phones. Searching for educational ones on sign language and stimulation does take mere seconds and renders great inspiration as there are great educators providing everything from special education to free violin lessons on youtube! A lot of TED talks are available too!!! After the Russian occupation, my native East Germany was seperated from the west, producing goods for cheap into the communist world, leaving the country depleted and the workers frustrated. Still, after the wall came down in 1989, nobody pitied the East Germans for the years of Russian oppression. On the contrary, their degrees were revoked, their money taken away and every single person was left to redo their qualifications and work on their lives from scratch. The general tariffs for the same work and qualification of the West were 75%salary in the East. No blaming of anything allowed. The people worked very very hard and educated themselves. Today East Germany is a jewel of a country, so beautiful and the people are sharp scientists and very successful. I have not seen many SUVs and Hummers there though. Here in rural Limpopo there are huge villas bigger than the White House, luxury cars parked in front of the school. The schools were build state of the art and left in great condition to the current leadership, but no repairs were done for the last 20 years. I have but a fraction of income than the leadership there. But for me it is normal to bring from my own pocked things seen as necessary. Why does the current leadership not encourage by example? I have never seen such a selfish people before in my life! The children have a very bland diet just pap and cabbage. But none of the leadership brings anything to supplement it. I have no problem to cook veggies at home and make meatballs for my own creche. But I come from a nation where the chancellor rents a third floor appartment in a normal house by a road (google Angela Merkel home) and have seen how the previous government build great schools everywhere while the current one seemss to not even know how to upgrade any infrastructure. You can not blame the old government, when they left everything in good condition and did not own such villas as we see springing up these days. I feel for the children as I know it would take this country only 10 years of quality education to produce a sharp, thinking new generation. 10 years of taxed ploughed into building schools, not mansions, buying modern equipment for teaching, not luxury cars. 10 years, and you have a different nation. Currently all we are teaching is how to shop and how to oppress.

I would really love some feedback from you!

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