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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 3. 1962.

Government Grip on Education Tightened in South Africa

page 10

Government Grip on Education Tightened in South Africa

This year will see a determined drive by South Africa's Nationalist Government to bring all public education under its direct supervision. At present, public education for Whites, Coloureds (mixed blood), and Indians, although segregated, is controlled by the four Provincial Councils.

The object of placing this education under central government is to make it easier for the Nationalists to use the schools for purposes of indoctrination. The Government's educational ideal is what it calls "Christian National Education," a carefully worked out scheme to instill in the Whites conviction of their racial superiority, and to make the non-Whites accept permanent inferiority, by inculcating race dogmas from the earliest years of schooling.

The Nationalist Government already has complete control of nearly all education for Africans (Bantus) in South Africa, including the three 'tribal" colleges which are the only opening into higher education for Africans. These three colleges—Fort Hare, Turfloop, and Ngoye—were established at the time that Africans were barred by Act of Parliament from attending integrated universities in Cape Town and Johannesburg. They are each exclusively for Africans of different language groups. The Government controls nearly all primary and secondary education for Africans (the exceptions are a few Roman Catholic and other Christian mission schools, whose number is steadily being reduced by the withdrawal of subsidies and permits). Education for Africans is regulated by the Bantu Education Act, whose avowed aim is to prevent Africans from aspiring to equality with whites (according to Prime Minister Verwoerd when he introduced the law into Parliament in 1954).

Now the Government plans to lake over education for the "coloureds," of whom there are nearly two million in South Africa. Education will be placed under the Department for Coloured Affairs, and will be designed, according to the principles of Christian National Education, to prevent coloured people from aspiring to equality with whites. The centralisation is expected to take place in April this year. It is likely to be followed by the wholesale sacking of all teachers who oppose the Government—of which there is a large number. The only institution of higher education for coloured people is the so-called "University College of the Western Cape" at Bellville, near Cape Town. (It is known among coloured people as the "Bush College.")

Similarly, education for the 500,000 Indians in South Africa will be centralised and directed toward the same end. The only higher education available to Indians is a university in an old naval barracks on an island in the middle of Durban harbour.

As far as whites are concerned, the Government plans to set up an Education Advisory Council, which will bring the education in the four provinces into line, and slowly infuse it with the ideas of Christian National Education, designed to ensure that white youth does not feel any "wind of change" but continues to hold high the banner of white superiority.

Whites may attend the well-equipped universities in Cape Town, Stellinbosch, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, and Bloemfontein, but to make certain that they do not pick up any "dangerous" doubts or ideas (here, all boys upon leaving school are now required to undergo nine months of military training, in which the main political emphasis is on "the preservation of while supremacy".

The pattern that emerges is of education planned to bolster and perpetuate the apartheid system and its underlying doctrine. Fortunately, students are not taking this onslaught on education lying down. (A in foreign publications.