Some Children Are More Equal than Others
Stefan Gottfried (2015)
This film is about de facto segregation in South African schools – a major factor in making South African more unequal (two rich people control more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population) than when schools were first “de-racialized” with the end of apartheid in 1994.
At present South African schools are divided by parental status and income, rather than race. Urban professionals send their children to “English” public schools in the cities. In contrast, poor township residents have no choice but to send their kids to free Bantu schools. Township students are denied entrance to “English” schools – they are always “full” – even when parents can pay the substantial school fees. Owing to officials’ fears white parents will take their kids off to private schools, the latter are never turned away.
In “English” schools, 98% of students complete high school and 80% go on to complete a bachelor’s degree. Only 50% graduate from township schools, only 11% go on to complete a bachelor’s degree and only 1% receive a vocational qualification. These grim statistics translate into a 50% unemployment rate of black youths 18-24 and an overall illiteracy rate of 51%.
The teachers and education officials interviewed in this film blame the deplorable state of South African schools on endemic corruption. The shocking physical state of the leaky, ramshackle, toiletless township schools certainly lends credibility to this viewpoint.