Skoolonderwys en die politiek : 'n prinsipieël–historiese ondersoek
Viljoen, Charles Theodorus
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This research was undertaken against the background of the world-wide phenomenon that school education and politics are related in a special way. What is characteristic of this relationship is that different forces are at work on an ongoing basis (this includes ideologies and political philosophies) which attempt to gain control of education. This competition for ideological and political hegemony can, given specific circumstances, culminate in what can be called an education crisis. In South Africa there has, since 1976, been a national education crisis. In a society which has for a decade or more been exposed to reform, transformation and transition, political demands have been in the forefront at the expense of education. Although there has been relative calm within certain sectors of national education (that is, within the so-called white section), a totally different situation obtained within the communities which had, until 1990, been totally excluded from political decision-making processes. The aim of this research was to find answers to the following questions: what should a Reformationally principled view with regard to the relationship school education and politics look like?; what is involved in the notions "school education" and "politics"?; what is/has been the relationship of politics and school education through the ages?; what has the relationship been like in South Africa in the period 1983-1990, and what roles did pupils and students, parents and teachers play in the midst of the political developments in the period 1983- 1990? In carrying out this research a variety of methods were used. In the first place a literature survey in all its facets was applied, especially involving the consultation •of important primary sources, for the sake of evaluating the statements found in secondary sources. Philosophical methods, described as the principial-reflective and the principial-descriptive method, the transcendental-critical method and the structural-empirical methods, were used throughout. In close conjunction with the alreadymentioned methods, the method of interviewing, the exemplary method, the comparative method, the problem-historical method and the method of conceptual analysis were also used. In the reportage of the research the following fields of research were explored. In the first place, attention was given to construction of a Reformational perspective on the relationship school education and politics. In the second place, an attempt was made to provide a conceptual exploration of the notions "school education" and "politics". In the third place, cognizance was taken of different formulations of aspects of the relationship school education and politics by way of exemplar. Following this, attention was shifted to contemporary South African education and the political situation (1983-1990), in which on the one hand cognizance was taken of a totality view of the development of school education and politics, and on the other hand note was taken of the different roles of pupils, students, teachers and parents in their participation in school education and political developments. In the course of the research certain findings were made. One of the key findings includes the facts that school education and politics each represents a different and distinguishable sphere of life, each with its own sphere of competence; through the acknowledgement of both the principles of sovereignty in the own sphere and universality in the own sphere can in principle ensure a harmonious relationship between school education and politics; school education and politics are concepts which each has its own conceptual framework and clusters which, if these differences are not adequately accounted for, will of necessity lead to ambiguity, misformulations and big misunderstandings; the state constitutes the irreducible whole within which the relationship school education and politics should be studied; a Christian view with regard to school education and politics presupposes that such a relationship is characterised by the fact that it does not necessarily strive in the first place for state citizenship, but for the Kingdom of God; school education has, because of its central position in the community and in society, an important role to play in the education and teaching of future citizens of a country, the crisis which, in the framework of education and teaching in South Africa, is largely attributable, in the period 1983-1990, to the ideological and political power struggle which can broadly be typified as having occurred between those who stood outside the political decision-making processes (including the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the United Democratic Front, the South African Communist Party, the Azanian People's Organization and other ideologically related groupings and factions), and those within the process (the National Party, the Progressive Federal Party - later the Democratic Party - the Conservative Party, the lnkatha Freedom Movement and other groupings) and school pupils, students, teachers and parents, in line with the different ideological and political points of departure for the period 1983-1990, all had a role to play in the promotion and advocacy of stated ideals. In general the conclusion was reached that the school education and politics stand in a clear and describable relationship to each other. School education in South Africa in the period 1983-1990 was deliberately used and eventually abused in what can be regarded as an ideological and political power struggle which reminded of a revolutionary struggle fought between the mainstream ideologies such as embodied and advocated by the African National Congress (ANC) and the National Party government respectively. Among the most important recommendations are the following: all those involved in education (pupils, teachers, parents, students, education planners, the state, political parties, the private sector, the church, trade unions, community leaders and so forth) should take note of the fact that school education and politics always stand in a particular relationship towards each other. There should be development of adequate training programmes in which the school and the broader community can be educated in what is involved in both education and politics. There should be a permanent watchdog attitude among all those involved in education (teachers, parents and the broader community) to ensure that education is not abused for party-political purposes. This is not intended, however, to deny the broad ideological consensus base in which any political or educational dispensation should function. The following fields have been identified as needing research: the role and task of the teacher in a pluralistic political milieu; an educational-philosophical determination of the role and the task of the school in a pluralistic political milieu; the way in which different ideological and political viewpoint/points of departure in a school can or could be dealt with; a continuation of the investigation of conceptual frameworks in the understanding of school education and politics; state view(s) and school education; state power and the realization of school education; individual rights and school education; citizenship and the school in a new political dispensation; the idea of a social contract and implications for school education; politically-ideological source documents and school education; political consciousness among the youth; the militarization phenomenon in school education and trade unionism in school education.
- Education