The school dilemma – taking action

Shakira Sheikh recently wrote an article for Jozikids on the difficulties in finding a school for Grade 1, which clearly resonated with many of you on a very deep level. I also have kids both in Grade R and Grade 1 and so empathise deeply with this struggle. It is natural to feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness at the current lack of schools, and yet the best solution I have found to these feelings has always been taking action.

Here are some ideas to get you going…

–       Homeschooling is always one option to look at, and if you spend some time online you will find many homeschooling groups where mother’s get together and support each other and help their kids to socialize.

–       A private tutor is another option, and while this may at first seem outside of your financial reach, if there are so many mothers in the same situation (and it certainly sounds like there are) why not join together and hire someone for a group of kids – look for a retired teacher or two looking for part-time work.

–       Look up and support local NPOs who are working to resolve this problem. A great one that I found recently is, who are looking at setting up free educational programs that can be accessed online, specifically with the aim of alleviating the current lack of good teachers in the country.

–       Speak to local businesses and schools about joining together in initiatives to create new classrooms and sponsor more teachers.

–       Raise awareness of the issue – speak to your local radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. Write to the relevant governmental departments. Protest.

–       Call the government to task on this and on the general issue of how your tax money is being spent. Start a petition. Email them daily.

–       VOTE. When local and national elections come around, make sure you are in the voting queue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about the state of the roads/schools/healthcare and yet they chose not to vote when the time came. If you’re not happy with what the current government is doing, vote them out.

–       Contact your Ward Councilor, explain the problem you’re having and brainstorm solutions. Call a meeting in your area.

These are just a few ideas to get you going, but chat with your friends in the same situation and see what other ideas you can come up with. Share them here too and get this conversation going. Remember that complaining about an issue takes time and energy – the same time and energy can be spent in working towards solutions.

There is a lovely quote by Lily Tomlin that is quite apt in this situation:

“I said, ‘Somebody should do something about that’. Then I realized, I am somebody”.

Click here to find a list of homeschools in Gauteng.

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Mia Von Scha

Mia Von Scha

Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.

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21 Responses

  1. Been there, done that……… Home and private tutoring are all good and well. The bottom line is that to move up to the next grade and for it to be reconised by the department of education the institute or method of schooling has to be registered with the GDE. If for instance you decide to do home schooling and it is not a reconised or registered course that grade/s will not be recognised by a registered schooling system should you want to change your child to this…. I don't think I'm wrong here.

  2. The quote by Lily Tomlin resonates very well with me and I'm sure with many others! My daughter will be 3 this year and I realise that we're already late for registration… considering there's a 6.5-year-waiting-list. It's time as parents we take the baton and make sure our children have a well deserved future. It is our responsibility!

  3. Am totally not happy about my son's school. I which I could take him to another school NOW! Our education systerm is really killing us.
    Please send me details of homeschool, I really need to improve my son's social life.

    1. 1. Unless you are a trained teacher you are NOT equipped to home school your child!
      2. Your son is not in school to improve his social life – he is there to learn.
      3. Parents need to do their homework and not wait until the last minute to find schools.
      4. Find the best school you can afford – even if it means you can't have your Cape Town holiday or new Merc every year.

    2. Thanks for your response Chinelle – I think a lot of parents misunderstand homeschooling as in I myself will school my child, when in fact you need to hire someone. However, I know that there are a lot of ex-teachers out there who are looking for work and if parents group together then the cost of this is reduced dramatically.

  4. Please help. I am really frustrated by our education systerm. I am in Protea Glen Ext 12. Please give more information/details of the Homeschooling. I need it for my 7 year old.

  5. Please help. I am really struggling to get my daughter into a pre school near my home, as I' m kept being told that I'm out of their zone. My son attends the high school and I have to pass the pre school every day to get there. We applied last year and was rejected and again this year. My husband was told last year by the secretary that she would help get my child in but I think that it was just said to get rid of him. It is a privately owned preschool though it is governed by the primary school. How is that possible? Is they private they cannot work on zone and if they governed by the school then why can they governing board not take them up. At my wits end.

    1. Hey Kas, having the same problem with my son to enrolhim into Grade 1 next year. They said I must enroll him in my area. The problem is that I want to put him some where were it is convinenent for my husband and I.

    2. Good day,

      Responding to your concern of “private Preschool within a state school”. Yes it is true most of the preschool in the state schools/ ModelC schools are not owned by the department even though they operate as part of the state school in the state premises.

  6. There was a time, long, long ago, when children who entered grade 1 were already able to read simple books, write using block letters and add numbers together.

    They were effectively homeschooled, although it wasn’t known by that name. The routine family life at home informally grew the skills simply by using them every single day.

    There are many reasons why the informal family “homeschooling” no longer happens – no family, no parents , no time, facebook and youtube overload, important whatsapp messages and more.

    For those thinking of DIY (i.e doing it on your own) homeschooling, one important issue that frequently gets swept away in the emotion or excitement is that you need to be two different people – Mom/Dad and Teacher/Disciplinarian – and be able to explain to the young mind why you are sometimes being mean.

    If you already find the daily seven or eight hours of interaction with your child taxing, you would need to consider very carefully, the implications of fifteen or sixteen hours. It could you drive you scatty but you will then have a deeper appreciation for your grade R teachers who take on thirty at a time.

    1. Hi Merle,
      No, I’m a conventional schooler and not a homeschooler. I have been involved in both fulltime teaching and tutoring of maths (which is the best subject in the world!) for many years.
      My comments are based on interactions with other homeschooling parents and kids.

      I’ve seen situations work really well where the kids are able to take responsibility for their studies and are relaxed and enjoying their academic life.
      I’ve also come across situations where the scholar/pupil/learner and parent spend quite a lot of time not seeing eye to eye.

      There are also the “group homeschoolers” in a tutor centre who seem to get the best of both worlds – home plus academic environment rolled into one.

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