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How education became an albatross for Kader Asmal


How education became an albatross for Kader Asmal

Ex-Cape Times editor Tony Heard, in his book on his years in government, recalls his time with Kader Asmal in education

Tony Heard

My eight months in Education

After five years at Water Affairs and Forestry, I followed Kader [Asmal] when President Thabo Mbeki shifted him to the ministry of education in the second democratic administration. I was stunned by the confused state of education generally then, five full years into our democracy. Most of the non-private schools were dysfunctional.

The new minister was active, as always, but with far more to cope with than in Water and Forestry. The need for fresh water always com­manded an immediate consensus. Without water, you die, fast. Director general Mike Muller (a legendary engineer who brought water to Beira amid civil war) just lays the pipes with expert teams, and the water flows. Without proper education, society dies too, but more slowly. This can be in the midst of unresolved controversies over how to fix it faster...

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