Die betekenis van die skool as ontsluitingsmag na Christelike beskawingsvolwassenheid
Claassen, Johannes Theodorus
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First of all an account had to be given of the religious, respectively philosophical presumptions as this thesis is meant to be a principial educational reflection on the significance of the school as a power which "opens-up" the individual (pupil) and leads him to Christian maturity. For this purpose the cosmological and anthropological views of the Philosophy of Law have been a great asset. In this way we also distantiated ourselves from the phenomenological method with its postulate of neutrality which has dominated the world of education of late. It was especially the anthropological ideas of Dooyeweerd and particularly the act-structure and the process of “opening-up", directed by faith, together with the religious principles that motivate man, that opened new horizons in so far as the task of the school in educating the child to Christian maturity is concerned. Christian anthropology, as expounded in this thesis, implies education and teaching. God entrusted man with the duty to subject and reign. Initially this order had its source in the fact that man was created in the image of God. In other words, God created man in such a way that he is capable of performing this task. Every child is born with latent (or concealed) capabilities and talents accumulated in the act-structure. These talents await "opening-up". Education therefore starts, so it seems, at the latent potentialities of the act-structure. The act-structure determines the possibilities as well as the limitations of education. What is important though, is that the "opening-up" of the act-structure - and therefore the "opening-up" of the entire person, is directed by norms, cultural aims and definable fundamental motives. (Principles) For this reason no neutral education exists and accordingly there are no neutral schools. To become what God wishes one to be, this "opening-up" must be directed educationally according to the norms fixed by God for all spheres of life. Consequently this "opening-up" must be in accordance with the basic religious principle of Creation, the Rail and Redemption of man. If this occurs, man is liberated to become a civilized, mature Christian personality that is able to control his environment in obedience to the ordinances decreed by God. Because of man’s iniquity the process of "opening-up" can occur when inspired by false religious principles and the result of this is at best a caricature of maturity in a Christian civilization. If the henomenological education states that "ethical" maturity is the aim of education, then it is truly a distortion and falsification of the meaning of human-life, and consequently an indication of a non-christian image of humanity. It is primarily the task of the parent of the Covenant to ensure that the child is educated with the eventual result of Christian civilised maturity. The complexity and differentiated nature of modern society hamper parents in doing this successfully. The "opening-up" of reality in more and more walks of life has made it imperative that knowledge and skills should be transferred in a more planned and systematic way from one generation to another. In this way the school develops as the product of the expansion of civilization and has its own unique structure and consequently its own unique task - viz, to mold people who can accomplish their cultural tasks and obligations to society. No neutral school can exist because one can never speak of a neutral civilization. Accordingly the Christian school should be the obvious and essential rule wherever sincerity exists to further and preserve Christian civilization. The child and the school where the main aim is to inculcate the subject matter and education itself, are manifestations of the personality and scientific ideals of the humanistic principles of the philosophy of immanence. A "neutral" (humanistic) school cannot lead to Christian developmental maturity, neither can it sustain a christian civilization. Only a school that is guided and directed by the religious principle of the Creation, the Fall and Redemption of man is capable of coping with this. This means that subject teaching, syllabi, subject matter, the institution (school) and control must be guided and directed by this principle. Because the school depends on the university - for its staff, serious attention must be given to the Christian way of presenting science. Christian philosophy can only evolve when encouraged by the Christian principle of the Creation, Fall and Redemption of man, hence Christian disciplines can only evolve when encouraged by Christian philosophy. And Christian teaching and schools can only develop when based on Christian disciplines. Only in this way can the school fulfil its Christian educational aim to teach in order to lead pupils to Christian maturity in civilization. Christian schools and christian education, respectively Christian maturity in civilization, rely on the training of Christian teachers. In spite of law no. 39 of 1967, the conscience clause in our universities, teachers' colleges and schools can create conditions injurious to the development of Christian maturity in civilization, as the conscience clause is the result of the scholastic principle of nature and mercy. In other words, this law is no guarantee for Christian teaching and education in our schools. This situation urgently necessitates an investigation into the practibility of the law in so far as the training of teachers is concerned.
- Education