The quality of township schools remains significantly uneven

Professor Ruksana Osman, Dean of Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand talks to John Maytham about the quality of township schooling.

It's 40 years since school children in Soweto and other parts of the country, protested against inferior Bantu education in 1976. How much has changed since then?

Osman says there are some good schools, but equally still many that are not up to scratch. Education across an area like Soweto is extremely uneven at best.

She says one finds clusters of schools that are functioning well, and not far away, a another cluster that is completely dysfunctional.

She says with the schools that are working well, the cluster seem to play a constructive role.

There is greater collaboration and support of schools within that cluster.

Professor Ruksana Osman, Dean of Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand

She says these schools have a good relationship with the regional and provincial education department and parents are more involved in the school's functioning and their children's education as well.

It means the children are more committed to their education, and it means there is good leadership in the schools...when there is a cluster of schools working together.

Professor Ruksana Osman, Dean of Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand

She says when these four variables need to be in place: involved parents, committed students, schools with a good relationship to regional and provincial education departments and good leadership.

When these four key elements are working it results in good functional schools.

But sadly, only so many children are able to go to these schools.

Only one-third of children in the sector are getting a satisfactory education.

Professor Ruksana Osman, Dean of Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand

Listen to Professor Osman discuss how these challenges can be addressed in the full interview below:


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