December 16, 2008

In School

I’ve written about the challenges facing Itipini children who attend school but I’ve never posted any pictures of it. Here, at last, are some.
As you can see, it is a grim place. Here’s a picture of the grade one classroom.
Notice anything missing? How about tables and chairs?

Here’s the sign that’s outside the school.
See that picture in the left-hand corner of nicely-dressed children, sitting at desks, raising their hands? Wouldn’t it be nice if all the children at this school had desks to sit at from which to raise their hands?

If you were a student here - especially one in grade one - what kind of value would you put on education if your government was only putting this much value in its schools? And if you were a teacher and had these kind of non-existent resources with which to work, would you be inspired to do a good job?

I once asked, in relation to writing about the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education:

What if all that effort and money we expend in getting the children into a school puts them in a sub-standard or failing school where the quality of education leaves a lot to be desired? As a statistic, that child is in primary school but is it doing him any good?
So how do we change this situation?

4 comments:

Heidi said...

Jesse, I shared a link to this post on Facebook, I was so struck by it. I almost don't believe you: those just can't be real classrooms. Why are there papers and boards all over the floor?

And it makes me think of a friend I know who taught in an inner-city school. The school system had little hope or respect for these kids, and so they had little hope or respect for themselves. A messed-up classroom was a symbol of self-image. Deficiency breeds deficiency.

Thanks for blogging. I don't always comment, but I'm glad to have this relationship with the people of Itipini and Mthatha through your eyes.

Anonymous said...

dear , jesse this is my ideas;get more food and a tramplene get some school slupplys from staples and pine wood will do a fundrasier for the kids in mthatha

putri-bali said...

it's nice pictures here. i like to see more, sometimes may i put on my blog....?
well thanks

Andrew Hankinson said...

You could always send a polite letter, with pictures, to the CEO of the "proud sponsor" of the school, just to let them know how things are really going.

http://www.oldmutual.com/

I noticed that their Board of Directors has a couple of South African members. (http://www.oldmutual.com/about/boardOfDirectors.jsp)