THE apartheid regime’s Bantu education system did “a lot of harm to our people”, but a Uitenhage octogenarian is hoping to change that.
Rhodes University graduate the Reverend Doctor Simon Gqubule, 86, of Gqubule Street in KwaNobuhle (named after his family), spends his Saturdays helping pupils from underprivileged areas prepare for their matric exams.
His mission is to ensure township youths have access to education on a par with that of private school pupils.
It has been 36 years since Gqubule, also an ordained Methodist Church of SA minister, received his PhD in English but he remains passionate about education.
“I am very interested in education, so much so that the remainder of my life I have to dedicate to improving the quality of these children,” he said, adding a lack of discipline at schools had contributed to the education crisis.
“Bantu education did a lot of harm to our people. Teachers still in the field today are products of that education system and therefore they see no problem with the system. We should have taken advantage of a complete change when the opportunity presented itself in 1994.”
Gqubule established the Ilitha Lemfundo Educational Enhancement Centre in 2007.
The centre operates from Sisonke Secondary School and offers classes in all matric subjects excluding Bible Studies, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.
The centre came about as a result of concern about the high Grade 12 failure rate.
Gqubule and his team including 10 teachers believe matriculants stand a better chance if given early intervention.
Last year the centre, which is registered as an NPO, scored a 100% matric pass rate with 54% university entrance.
This year, 96 pupils including Grade 10 and 11 have enrolled.
Asked what he thought about mother-tongue tuition, Gqubule said: “Xhosa should be taught at the highest possible level but as long as the examinations are in English, text books and support materials are still in English, then teaching must be in English.”
And once a year, he returns to his alma mater with a group of matriculants to expose them to the range of options available at the Grahamstown university.
Lutho Daweti, 18, of Strelitzia High School, is among those who attend the Saturday classes, and participated in the orientation session at Rhodes on Friday.
“This has been an eye-opener. At first I did not know what to study after school but now I know exactly that psychology is my first choice,” she said.
Lutho’s peer, Nomajwara Mali, 17, agreed.
“My maths results have improved since I have been attending Ilitha Lemfundo Educational Enhancement Centre. Today [Friday], I got most of the information I needed for my career choice which is social work.”
The classes are open to all who need them. – Hendrick Mphande
By Allan Williams
Source: The HeraldSource: Herald Live
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