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This is how good schools become dysfunctional

Ideas

This is how good schools become dysfunctional

What does the viral video of that Krugersdorp high school tell us about the future of nonracial education in SA?

Columnist

There is nothing wrong with the mission of Hoërskool Jan de Klerk. “To educate our learners in all areas so that they can go out into the world as well-balanced individuals, make a meaningful contribution to society and lead fulfilling lives.” Nor is there anything wrong with the five values that also appear on the Facebook site of this Krugersdorp high school: respect, excellence, accountability, loyalty, integrity.

Except that a week ago the school made national headlines when a video was posted online about an all-out classroom brawl in which uniformed Jan de Klerk pupils punched each other silly while one of the pupils (I use the word loosely) jumped onto the back of an elderly teacher, choking the man with one arm and pointing him to the brawl with the other. Because this is SA, it would be noticed that the boys in this almighty fight were black and the teacher white. Jan de Klerk, a Nationalist politician who was also the father of the last white president, FW de Klerk, must have been spinning in his grave.

The media have already reported the facts of the case, the possible motivations for the fight and the disciplinary actions on the cards from the Gauteng department of education. What else is going on here and what does it tells us about the future of nonracial education in SA?..

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