'n Ondersoek na die onderwys van immigrantekinders in 'n nywerheidsgroeipunt van die R.S.A.
Smith, Martha Magdalena
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1. Introduction - This is a brief account of the education of immigrants at schools within an industrial growth point in the R.S.A. It comprises problems encountered in schools locally, the education of immigrants in foreign countries generally and possible improvements in the education of immigrant children in the area researched. 2. Orientation and motivation - Since the establishment of the Department of Immigration in 1961 the ever increasing numbers of immigrants entering our schools have created various educational problems. Consequently requests for research into these problems were made to the Minister of National Education. The purpose of this study is to give an objective, systematic description of the didactic-pedagogic situation within 31 schools at which immigrants are enrolled. The areas concerned are the iron and steel, and petrochemical industrial areas of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. This study was undertaken during 1971 - 72, referring back to 1961, and includes a universum of 17 608 children of whom 2 022 are immigrants. A sample of 300 •immigrants and a control group of 300 South Africans were taken from 17 schools. Further information was gained from official and non-official documents, interviews and direct observation. Research was done in the countries of origin Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, the U.S.A. and Canada. Immigrant children are defined as follows for the purposes of this inquiry: Definition for statistical purposes: An immigrant child is a child of foreign parents who have legally immigrated into the R.S.A. intending to settle permanently and who qualify, or eventually may qualify for South African citizenship through naturalisation, or who have already obtained South African citizenship during the lifetime of the child. Definition for language teaching purposes: An immigrant who requires language instruction is: (1) a child whose mother tongue is English but who has no knowledge of Afrikaans as a second language; (2) a child whose mother tongue is neither Afrikaans nor English and who has no knowledge of either Afrikaans or English as a second language; (3) a child whose mother tongue is neither Afrikaans nor English but who has a knowledge of Afrikaans or English as a second language. These children are a potential source of linguistic problems in schools. If knowledge of the medium of instruction is taken as a criterion immigrants can be further defined as follows for the purpose of language teaching: An immigrant is a child who cannot read, write or speak the medium of instruction or the second language. Consequently this child becomes a potential source of linguistic problems in the medium of instruction and the second language. 3. Immigration in the R.S.A. - A survey of immigration in the R.S.A. is essential as it determines the extent of provision required for the education of immigrant pupils. Education is a most appropriate means of promoting successful integration. It can however be applied as a conservation mechanism for retaining the culture of the native land. The history of immigration in South Africa illustrates that education can bring about cultural changes. Where a policy of dispersal was followed as in the case of the French Huguenots they became integrated with the majority of the European population and education brought cultural changes. Many British and German settlers however retained their identity through group settlement and education in their national culture. Today immigration is necessary. European labour is required if an economic growth rate of 5 1/2% is to be maintained. It is also required for demographic, social and cultural reasons. The Department of Immigration was established in 1961 to promote immigration. This Department has delegated the function of immigrant integration to State subsidised private organizations, as well as the Department of National Education and the Provincial Education Departments. The influx of 40 000 immigrants from various European and other countries yields 7 000 immigrant pupils annually. For socio-economic reasons immigrants tend to settle at industrial growth points, where this pattern of settlement influences education. 4. The education of immigrant children at an industrial growth point in the R.S.A. - Most immigrants within the specified terrain come from the over-populated heavy iron and steel industrial areas or impoverished agricultural areas of central and southern Europe and the United Kingdom. Refugees from eastern Europe also immigrate. For purposes of this research the immigrants are classified into three groups according to 1 the language of their country of origin, viz. English 34%, Continental Germanic 28% and Diverse 38%. According to the medium of instruction the language ratio of Afrikaans to English is 7 : 1 in the Transvaal schools, 9 : 1 in the schools of the O.F.S. and 9 : 1 in the research area. All the English speaking immigrants are compelled to take instruction through the medium of English as English is their home language. Parents of immigrant children who have no knowledge of either English or Afrikaans choose the medium of instruction artificially for their children. This results in English being the language of choice of 97% of the Diverse and 45% of the Continental-Germanic immigrants. Afrikaans is the medium of instruction for the rest of the children. Thus Afrikaans is the medium of instruction for 19% and English the medium of instruction for 81% of the universum of immigrants. The reasons for preference of English can not always be accounted for educationally. According to their medium of instruction the immigrant children are distributed in the public, private and nursery schools of the research area so that the number of immigrants in English medium schools is > 40%, in parallel medium schools 5 to 15% and in Afrikaans medium schools < 5%. Provision is made for concessions regarding the promotion of pupils and allocation of staff to schools with immigrant pupils. Owing to the large numbers of immigrants in English medium schools, special staff have been appointed mainly to English medium schools. Special teachers for immigrants have not been trained as such. The extra staff is responsible for extra language classes and special immigrant classes. The normal staff undertakes the teaching of immigrants in regular classes as many immigrants are also placed directly into classes to follow the regular curriculum. 5. Problems in the education of immigrant children - The dynamic problem in the education of immigrants is that they are strange to the education in the research area. The socio-cultural aim of education in the R.S.A. is to educate the child within the framework of the national culture. The basic requirement for this is a national milieu and continuity of education. The problem is that since 1961 the continuity of education has been impaired as a result of the ever increasing number of immigrant children who are unevenly distributed. Their alienation varies in the didactic-pedagogic situation according to the extent of their exposure to the cultures of their native land and that of South Africa. Consequently various degrees of alienation are distinguishable in immigrant pupils. With increasing age man loses the ability to become proficient in new languages and absorb different cultures, consequently change is progressively resisted. Educational continuity is of vast importance, the disturbance of which creates a problem as in the case of immigrants. The degree of alienation also varies according to age, length of stay, choice of medium of instruction, cultural deprivation, the volume and heterogeneity of immigrants, genetic strangeness, religious divergence, distribution or concentration of immi grants and the attitude of South Africans. Language and communication is ab initio the immigrants’ problem as language is the medium of instruction. Although thought and language originate separately, language is the vehicle of thought. The development of language is determined by the degree to which the child is understood. Consequently exposure to language is essential. Education through the medium of one of the official languages is essential in, introducing the child to the national culture. Because language medium is a prerequisite for dynamic educational progress, immigrant children in the process of learning should never stagnate while acquiring language proficiency. Immigrants experience a problem in that their oral means of communication is no longer effective after immigration, because their inner language and thoughts are still in their mother tongue. Hence their scholastic standard often exceeds their ability of expression in the new medium of instruction. Many immigrants who appear "dumb" have been affected by the break in the continuity of their education. Immigrants also often experience pronunciation problems and language confusion. Immigrant children are also expected to master both official languages concurrently. The accumulation of immigrants in English medium schools however leads to the formation of common language groups. Private mother tongue education and ghetto formation restrict physical and functional language contact with South Africans, which are essentials for educational adaptation. Attainment by immigrant children in the New South African Group Tests is mainly determined by their knowledge of the medium of instruction and of the South African culture. There appears to be a positive correlation between the immigrants’ intelligence on the one hand and their language development and degree of exposure to the South African culture in the course of time on the other hand. It is noteworthy that the test achievements of Continental-Germanic children show a greater degree of improvement than those of the English and Diverse immigrant children. A probable explanation for this phenomenon is that the Continental-Germanic children adapt themselves sooner and better to the South African culture than the English and Diverse groups. Similar results were obtained in England and the U.S.A. Children from southern European countries appear to have inferior educational potential. However intelligence tests are not culture free. The apparent inability of the Diverse immigrant children to acquire South African culture may also partially be due to a lack of exposure to the South African culture because of their accumulation in English medium schools, ghetto formation and group isolation. Compulsory education in the R.S.A. differs from that of the countries of origin and this 90ntributes towards the immigrant children’s divergence regarding scholastic niveau and school age. Immigrant children are unevenly distributed in schools in the research area. The ratio of immigrant children to South Africans is 1 : 35 and 1 : 45 in Afrikaans medium primary and secondary schools and 1 : 1 in English medium schools. According to this ratio immigrant children "disappear" in Afrikaans medium schools while they are a threat to the identity of English medium schools. In English medium schools 98% of the immigrant children in primary schools are concentrated in the junior primary phase. Where the ratio of immigrants to South Africans exceed 1 : 3 it limits the exposure of both immigrants and South Africans to the South African culture. This tendency promotes displacement of South African children. Unequal distribution also occurs in courses where the Diverse children tend to concentrate in the Std. VIII course and adaptation classes. Ethnic groups show a tendency to concentrate in schools, e.g. 62% of all Portuguese concentrate in one school. Causes of unequal distribution include preference of English as the medium of instruction, religion, ethnicentrism and cultural conflict, the settlement pattern of immigrants and displacement of the receiving society by aggressive immigration. Analysis of the population statistics of English medium schools in which immigrants concentrate indicates that displacement of South African pupils occurs when immigrants exceed 20% of the school population and when the ratio of South African to immigrant children becomes > 1 : 3. Notwithstanding the fact that less than 5% immigrants are found in the neighbouring Afrikaans medium schools, the enrolment in these schools shows a regressive tendency because Afrikaans children are displaced from the natural school zone because of immigrant group settlement. Consequently the enrolment in Afrikaans medium schools has had to be artificially supplemented by rezoning and busing. The consistent incidence of immigrants of a specific nationality leads to the establishment of their own private schools as a defensive measure in retaining their national culture. Academic achievements of immigrants show that they meet with more success in parallel medium schools, that the Continental-Germanic children achieve better results and that the greatest erosion takes place among Diverse immigrants. English immigrant children are poorly motivated. Academic achievements of immigrant children are positively related to vocabulary, length of domicile and adjustment. Language deficiency must be taken into consideration for promotion purposes for two to three years after immigration. Matriculation concessions have to be retained for Diverse children but not for English and Continental-Germanic children Cultural deprivation, irregular school attendance and poor motivation also result in poor achievement. There is a lack of suitable teaching methods, syllabi and teaching aids. Teachers have not received the necessary training for immigrant or cross-cultural education. Parents are not involved enough in the education of their children. 6. Education of immigrants elsewhere - Inter- and intra-continental migration causes thousands of immigrant children to attend schools in foreign countries. Excellent measures are taken for the elimination of immigrant alienation and for the conservation of the national character of education, religion, language and the autochthonous population in schools. Intensive research preceded these measures and the statistics of immigration were taken into consideration in the planning of education. The majority of immigrant countries have formulated policies which provide for inter alia the dispersal of immigrants limiting them to 20% per school, 5% per nationality per school and four to five per class. The necessary consideration is given to the religion of immigrants, but dispersal and education are regarded as sufficient safeguard for native mores, religion and culture. Immigrants are compelled to master the medium of instruction as a prerequisite for cultural integration. The official medium of instruction is compulsory in order to prevent the formation of foreign language groups. Immigrants are exempted from the second language and allowed to study their mother tongue as a subject. In cases where a foreign language is taken, the consolidation of the medium of instruction receives priority. Although private schools exist they are not regarded as desirable because of their curbing effect on integration. The grouping of immigrants in classes depends on their varying degrees of alienation and on how soon the continuity of education can be restored. Pre-school immigrant children attend nursery schools in order to promote mastery of the-medium of instruction. Reception centres are provided from where immigrants are directed to schools. Dispersal in ordinary classes9 flexible integration, promotion classes, intensive term and year classes are utilized. Adolescents are required to comply with the regulations regarding compulsory education in order to promote their social, cultural and economic integration. Remedial education is provided and teaching content adjusted and optimally utilized for transcultural teaching. Special methods of language teaching, for instance the audio- linguistic method - based on words and structures with the highest use frequency - are used to enable the immigrant pupils to master a functional vocabulary quickly. Various teaching aids are used, e.g. creation of realistic conditions in teaching, holiday projects and various audio-visual aids. Specially trained supernumerary teaching staff are appointed. Immigrant parents are also taught the new language in order to promote their economic value but also with a view to cultural integration. A marked deficiency in the education of immigrant pupils is encountered in countries where no research has been done on education of immigrants. In such countries the alienation of immigrant children is emphasised and prolonged by their isolation in "Ubergangklasse" and accumulation in ordinary classes. 7. Possible solutions to the problems in the education of immigrant children in the research area - In order to evaluate the education of immigrant pupils in the research area, criteria were formulated with due regard to the deficiencies of education in the research area, historical aspects of immigrant education and successful measures that have been taken abroad. Local immigrant teaching was subsequently evaluated by application of the formulated criteria, hence deficiencies and excellencies in local measures were revealed. The following proposals for the improvement of immigrant education in the research area were deduced: 7.1. Education and immigration should be co-ordinated for the "South Africanizing” of immigrant children and for the protection of the national character of education and national identity. This demands co-ordination concerning the extent of provision of education for immigrant children and the nature and extent of immigration. (a) Research should be done immediately concerning the factors underlying the alienation of immigrants and the factors determining the national character of education. (b) National education policy demands education with a broad national character. This implies elimination of alienation amongst immigrants and cultural integration with a view to ultimate citizenship. On the other hand it implies the protection of the national identity and the national character of education. South Africanization contains an inherent dualism rooted in the division of Whites into English speaking and Afrikaans speaking groups. For the purposes of this thesis South Africanization means identification with either the Afrikaans or English section of the community. (c) Protection of the national character demands that the volume and origin of immigrants should be controlled and that the assimilability o:f prospective immigrants should be carefully considered. Immigrants should be limited to 20% per school, four to five per class and 5% per nationality per school. Immigrants should attend the schools in the immediate vicinity of their homes. Zoning should be statistically planned to prevent excessive concentration of immigrants in certain schools, and in order to promote fraternization of immigrants with South African children guardian pupils• should be appointed. 7.2. Immigrant education should retain the Protestant heritage in South African education. Immigration should be limited when the prospective immigrants are of the Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox faiths. Immigrants with permissive inclinations should be discouraged. Both immigrants and South Africans should receive guidance regarding clause 2(a) of Act no. 39 of 1967 in order to promote peaceful co-existence. 7.3. Immigrant education should preserve the traditional language relationship of the outochthonous European population. This entails reasonable limitation of the quota of English speaking immigrants. Immigrants should be carefully dispersed in order to maintain a ratio of English to Afrikaans pupils of 1 : 9 in the research area and schools of the O.F.S., and 3 : 7 in schools of the Transvaal. Continental-Germanic children should be canalized into the Afrikaans medium schools as Afrikaans is closely related to their language of origin. Diverse immigrants with no proficiency in English should also be enrolled in Afrikaans medium schools. Under no circumstances should State subsidies be available for private mother tongue schools. 7.4. Immigrant education should aim at proficiency in the second language only after knowledge of the medium of instruction has been consolidated. Immigrant pupils already fluent in the medium of instruction should receive intensive instruction in the second official language. 7.5. Education in public schools should be fully utilized for ensuring ultimate citizenship. Hence immigrants should attend only free public schools. Immigrants may receive instruction in their home language at the discretion of the principal where this is justified by enrolment. Immigrants should also be allowed to study their home language as a third language, and matriculation subject. 7.6. Immigrant pupils including adolescents should comply with the current regulations concerning compulsory education and attend school regularly. Transference of immigrant pupils to lower classes due to language deficiency should be prohibited and immigrants should be compelled to undergo reasonable military training. 7.7. The necessary educational guidance should be provided on admission and primary emphasis should be placed on the mastering of the medium of instruction. 7.8. Pre-primary education should be available for the preschool immigrant children not proficient in the medium of instruction. State aided and industrial nursery schools as well as créches should be provided. 7.9. Reception centres should be provided to obtain the maximum information regarding the potential and the scholastic background of immigrant pupils, and to direct them to specific schools. 7.10. Immigrant pupils should be placed in ordinary classes as soon as possible and pupils not proficient in either the medium of instruction or the second language should receive intensive tuition in the relevant language in special language classes. Those unacquainted with both official languages should be flexibly integrated. 7.11. Older immigrant pupils unacquainted with the medium of instruction and experiencing integration problems or those who are forced to master the medium of instruction in a very limited period before leaving school, should receive intensive language teaching in a term, trimester or year class. 7.12. In exceptional cases where the standard of education of immigrant pupils is markedly below that of their peers, special recovery classes of up to a year’s duration should be provided. It is also advisable to admit all immigrant; pupils who are over the age of 13 and who have not yet passed Std. 5 to the Practical Course and to apply flexible integration in their cases. 7.13. Suitable provision should be made for remedial teaching of immigrant pupils. 7.14. Vacation schools in rural areas, hostels and open air schools should be utilized to South Africanize immigrant pupils and South African pupils should receive guidance in order to equip them to promote integration of immigrant pupils. 7.15. Subject matter should also be chosen keeping in mind the South Africanization, integration and acquisition of South African culture of immigrant pupils. 7.16. Immigrant pupils’ knowledge of the medium of instruction should be taken into consideration in their evaluation. 7.17. The intensive language teaching should concentrate on the quick mastery of a high frequency, functional vocabulary. Audio-visual aids as well as the visual lingual method should be fully utilized. 7.18. The enrolment of pupils should be taken into consideration for staffing purposes. Where the number of immigrant pupils does not justify the appointment of a supernumerary teacher, immigrants should be grouped together in a centrally located school until the numbers are sufficient. Provision should be made for a language advisor and suitable staff at the reception centre. 7.19. Immigrant parents should be involved in the education of their children and master the language of instruction.
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