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One Size Fits All: Models of Education, Historical and Contextual Issues within South Africa

Journal: International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) (Vol.8, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 1277-1281

Keywords : South Africa; Education; Teaching; Learning; Outcomes education; Context; Epistemology;

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One size fits all is about context and the history of developing and implementing curriculum initiatives within South Africa (SA). Both historical and contextual issues have been stressed. It is speculated that many teachers are unaware of how destructive Christian National Education (CNE) was and the negative influence it still has on has educational reform today. This paper examines why educators rely on imported models [For the purpose of this paper a model will refer to any educational programme that has been adopted from another country or province in South Africa] to improve their teaching, despite the fact that most attempts to innovate have had more of a negative than a positive impact on learning and teaching in the classroom. The premise of this paper is based on the assumption that by importing models from other countries to improve the quality of teaching, context is ignored. It is contended that context is crucial to any form of educational reform. Importing someone elses reform agenda will not improve the quality of learning and teaching in the classroom. Assuming that models developed in other countries can simply be transferred to SA, even if they have been modified, is naive. The fact is that only through understanding all the needs in SA can anyone attempt to understand such issues that are implicitly embedded into the social, economic, political and historic fabric in SA today. For example, 63 % of young children in SA suffer from severe poverty and 78 % cannot read for meaning. When all these statistics are tallied, it is no wonder SA performs so poorly when bench marked against other countries in the world. Poverty and poor education will only serve to exacerbate the already high levels of crime in SA. Historically, the reason for this situation is directly attributed to a crass, and deliberately constructed system of education instituted by the National government, Christian National Education (CNE). This was the mechanism that continued to develop and consolidate Apartheid until democracy in 1994. After the release of Nelson Mandela, Outcomes Based Education (OBE) replaced CNE. Outcomes Based Education was epistemologically grounded in social constructivism. Owing to political pressure, there was a necessity to deliver a new curriculum that would redress the wrongs of the past. A quick fix was needed, hence the adoption of imported models from first world countries. After 12 years it finally became apparent that there was a massive misfit as OBE totally ignored the SA context. Drawing on the historical synopsis, and identifying assumptions and crucial concepts that support change, rather than negate it, makes it possible to understand why OBE was unsuccessful, and to this end, why further attempts to import models will also be ineffective. Finally, hope for the future lies in a wholly SA model that is presently being scaled up to macro level. The National Education Collaborative Trust (NECT) is sponsoring a unique SA model that takes cognizance of contextual issues. It is postulated that the process by which the curriculum is implemented, will ultimately bring about authentic change to education in SA.

Last modified: 2021-06-28 17:24:41