Sometimes even Angie gets it right

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga gets mauled in the media so often that the knee-jerk reaction for many has become to dismiss or criticise anything she says.

Sometimes, however, the beleaguered minister hits the nail on the head, as she did yesterday.

Speaking at a business breakfast hosted by The New Age, Motshekga said parents have to shoulder most of the blame for pupils’ poor discipline.

“I really don’t think you can exempt parents too much and say we are supposed to pick it up. Schools are also a little world of what our world is – we come from a very violent society,” Motshekga was reported to have said.

While it cannot be denied schools also have an important role to play, this pales in comparison to the one parents need to fulfil. It is simply unrealistic to imagine we can neglect the moral and character development of our children and then expect schools to pick up the slack.

By the time a child reaches schoolgoing age, a lot of work already should have been done.

If a child’s first six years were not spent in an environment that fostered the development of empathy and respect for others, then even the best school is going to find it difficult to deal with him or her.

Motshekga is also correct in saying the violence in schools is also a further manifestation of the generally violent society we live in; there is no reason to believe schools should or can be exempt from sharing in our violent culture.

The best way to address violence in schools would then be to address violence in society in general.

As long as we still live in a country where we regularly have to read about the rape and murder of everyone from babies to the elderly, and about cold-blooded murder committed to cover up fraud or to steal a cellphone, schoool violence is not going anywhere.

today in print