Onderwys in Suidwes–Afrika tot 1975
Niemand, Cornelis Meyer
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South West Africa is in many instances a unique land. Its topography, climatic conditions, rainfall and vegetation are all facets of extremes. As far as it could be established the three European groups, the three Coloured groups and the eight Black nations (except perhaps the Bushmen) have all inhabited the land within the period of one century and they were still in the process of settling down during the nineteenth century. Each group and nation brought with them their own habits, language, religion and culture. The history of formal education in South West Africa dates from 1805, after trading and hunting expeditions from South Africa, as well as crew members from foreign ships visited the country and reported their findings. Prior to that, the country was unknown to the outside world. After the report of these expeditions were received in the different countries, missionaries were sent to South West Africa by various societies. Initially the missionaries carne from the London, Rhenish, Finnish, Wesleyan and Roman Catholic Missionary Societies. Missionaries from other societies followed later. After arriving in South West Africa, the missionaries found the country to be vast and inhospitable, with the most severe and extreme climatic conditions. Several of the native tribes were at war against each other and some were hostile towards the missionaries. No school buildings, furniture or equipment was available and the missionaries had to contend with only the basic amenities. The missionaries' initial attempts at formal education consisted of the study of the Bible, reading, writing, handcrafts and general discipline. There were virtually no text books available for school use and the lack of funds further hampered the educational movement tremendously. The nomadic nature of the inhabitants of the country made the missionary effort none the easier and the missionaries had to move with the tribes from place to place in an endeavour to continue the education of the tribes. The face that the different tribes were constantly in a state of war against each other, regarding territorial occupation and cattle thieving, also hampered the missionaries efforts. Communication in the educational process proved to be a major problem for the missionaries. There were no less than nine different Black nations in the country, each with its own language. Although these nine nations were in most cases territorially separated, it often happened that when a school was established, two of three different languages had to be spoken at the school. The inability to communicate in the mother tongue of each group at these schools caused further problems in educating the people. Because the missionaries could not speak the languages of the Blacks, they resorted to teaching through the medium of Dutch, which was the language most commonly spoken by the Whites who entered the country. A few of the tribes in the south, mostly of mixed origin and known as Coloureds, could speak Dutch because of their contact with the Whites of the Cape. Germany proclaimed South West Africa as a German colony in 1884. During the German occupation there was no mentionable advancement in the education for the Blacks in the country. The Germans did not find their stay in South West Africa a peaceful one. The occupational period was for the greater part, a time of turbulence, with wars between the tribes as well as between the Germans and several of the native inhabitants. This resulted once again in the scattering and dispersal of the different tribes. The only advantage to the missionaries during the German occupation, was a feeling of relative safety. The German government made a small grant available to the missionaries, on condition that German was taught and used as the medium of instruction at the missionary schools instead of Dutch, as had previously been the case. During the German occupation the need for schools for immigrant German children arose. Several schools were established with German as the medium of instruction. There were at that stage a number of Afrikaans speaking farmers as well as English speaking residents, whose children had to attend the schools established by the Germans and where they had to be taught through the medium of German. This caused conflict between the different White language groups, as each group felt that its culture and identity was being undermined. As a result, private schools for certain sections of the White population were established. When the South African forces conquered the territory in 1915, South West Africa became a mandate of South Africa through the treaty of Versailles. During the mandatory period the peoples of the country entered a period of peacefulness, stability, prosperity and security. Education progressed and an inspector of Education was appointed to investigate the educational system and the possibility of education for all the population groups at South West Africa. This investigation resulted in the publication of the first proclamation regarding education in 1921. Another proclamation followed in 1926 and in later years more educational laws, proclamations and ordinances followed, which were for the most part based on the original two proclamations or were supplementary to them. During the German occupation the Afrikaans speaking community entered into a language conflict that lasted for almost three decades. The Afrikaners insisted that their children be tutored through their mother tongue and by their own teachers. After 1915 when South Africa became the Mandator, the position was completely reversed and for decades the German speaking community pleaded for their children to be taught through the medium of German. Their pleas eventually proved fruitful and German schools were established. The Central control of education for the three main population groups, namely the Whites, Black, and Coloureds, was vested in the Department of education of South West Africa under the control of the Director of Education. It was only after 1958 that local control in the Non-White schools was granted to parents. It was, however, the duty of the Education Department to ensure that the prescribed policy of education was carried out. The control of Black and Coloured education changed hands at the beginning of 1969. It was felt that it would be more beneficial to both the Black and Coloured groups if Black education was controlled by the South African Department of Bantu Education and if Coloured Education was controlled by the Department of Coloured Affairs of the Republic of South Africa. Thus, since 1969 the South West African Department of Education has only controlled the education of the white inhabitants of the country. This study also illustrates the growth and expansion in the numbers of pupils of all the nations of South West Africa, the number of schools and of teachers. It was no mean task to comply with the demands that resulted from the extraordinary growth in education. Different types of schools became necessary as modern needs demanded and these were established according to the needs of the pupils. In order to provide teachers at the same rate in which the number of pupils and schools expanded, proved to be a further problem and a formidable task. Every possible effort was made to equip the schools with well qualified and well trained teachers as the demands increased. Other factors, namely differentiated education, community schools, parent participation, teaching through the mother tongue, development of orthographies for the different Black languages, the demands made by the United Nations, the intervention of other countries and tile new dispensations in South West Africa all added to make education a formidable task.
- Education