20 August 2010

So, Madi didn't go to school today

in fact, pretty much any kid in a government school throughout all of South Africa didn't go to school today.
The union is striking. Teachers are striking. Health care workers are striking.
I read in the paper that our local government hospital - the one many of my friends have been treated at - is a mess. It's not the best of places to begin with. I can't imagine. It's selfish, I know, but I'm glad I don't know anyone in the hospital right now.

We got a text message from the principal at Madi's school yesterday - no school for the next few days. Not because the teachers at her school aren't there, but because there are teachers all around town who are not being so nice to schools that haven't shut down... not being so nice to kids traveling to school in the mornings. Even when our high school opens back up, in the name of safety, kids are encouraged to wear their "civvies" to not draw attention to the fact they are going to school.
Strange world.

Here, high school runs a little differently. There are these national tests everyone must take at the end of the year. In grade 8 & 9, those tests count for 25% of your over-all grade for the year. In grade 10 - 50%. Grade 11 - 75% of your years' scores. By the time you are a senior (matric) those standardized national tests are worth 100% of your grades. pass or fail. the end.
These tests are the same no matter the school you go to. A private school with all the amenities and frills - a settlement school with 60 kids in a single class. Whether the teachers teach the material or not. Even if the entire country is on strike and the schools close down. These kids are responsible to pass this test in order to graduate.
At our church in Muldersdrift, we've put together an alternative education opportunity during the days. DVDs , guest lecturers, former matric students tutoring the ones studying for their upcoming exams. Billy was there this morning, Amos said that at the end of the day, a lot of the students didn't want to leave, saying they were learning so much. I'm proud of my church - stepping in without hesitation. Community. Leadership. Hand in hand. Not giving in. Looking out for each other. That is what will make this country stand tall on it's own feet again.

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