University of Basel: Manfred Max Bergman, Claudia Heinzmann, Martha Vogel
University of Johannesburg: Lloyd Conley, Josef de Beer, Saartjie Gravett, Coert Loock
The education system is a much discussed topic in South Africa; matriculation results are regularly debated and a matter of deep concern. The literacy and numeracy skills of South African pupils rank among the lowest regionally and internationally, even compared to much poorer countries, triggering controversial answers to the question of responsibility and accountability for the poor performance. Everyone seems to have an opinion about who or what is to blame.
This project deals with school principals, teachers, the media on the many 'problems' of South African education. Principals and teachers' voices describe the difficulties they are confronted with and what adverse effects problems have on learners, classes, and schools. A selection of media articles will present the dimensions of problems associated with teachers, unions, parents, and others, as well as cover phenomena including violence, racism, sexuality, norms, discipline, etc. A systematic review on the academic research on 'problems' in South African schools and the school system will be presented in the final part of this project. Overall, this project will illustrate the heterogeneity and disassociation between the key stakeholders when they conceptualize and report on the problems in South African schools today.