Kuruman- The land of the wasted year
Written by: Mbali Dhlamini
Every person has a plan when it comes to their academic prospects. We all have somewhat of a plan on when you want to finish school and what you will be getting up to in the upcoming year. What happens when all those plans literally vanish into thin air? When the year that was seizes to exist? What happens then? These are probably some of the questions going through the minds of thousands of learners in Kuruman in the Northern Cape.
This is the area where the community took to the streets protesting over the lack of tarred roads. The community in turn shut down over 50 schools barring pupils from attending school. Now this week the department of basic education announced that learners from this area will have to repeat their grades next year because they had missed out on too much schooling.
The matriculants from the same area will not be able to go to varsity like their peers in other provinces next year because they were deregistered from the system and will only be able to write their grade twelve exams next year. It’s normally a very easy route to take to blame the department when drama hits the country’s schooling system. Don’t get me wrong, they have a lot of work to do to regain the trust of the people following the Limpopo textbook saga.
This time however I feel that the parents of these learners need to bear the full brunt of the criticism. How do you sleep at night knowing that you played a role in stopping a future engineer, doctor, teacher, lawyer and most importantly a future bread winner from going to school because you wanted tar to be placed on the ground?
What makes a parent think that their fight is far more important than the fight against illiteracy and the fight to get learned future leaders? We live in a country where students fight daily battles of bullies who have evolved and ventured into the cyber sphere.
We live in a country where violence is a growing trend in our schools, where the teachers who are hired to teach our children are the very people who abuse them. Are those battles not enough for a person who is still trying to find themselves?
To the parents of the Kuruman learners and to all those who took part in the months of protests that plagued that area I ask you…. Was it all worth it?
Is the tar that you will feel at the bottom of your feet on a daily basis ever going to make up for the year that your child will look back on and asking themselves, ‘What ever happened to the year 2014?’