In 2015, 21 years after the end of Apartheid, South Africans are still trying to establish an effective and truly equitable education system. Under Apartheid, the education system was segregated and inequalities persisted through the enforcement of Bantu education. Bantu education separated schools by race, designing different curriculums and setting different budgets for each band of schools. The South African Schools Act of 1996 united the racially segregated school systems under one educational system, promising to fund schools equally. However, the effects of systemic inequality under the Bantu system left a wide rift between the physical and curricular quality of black and white schools. Given this history, equal funding for all schools could not be truly equitable. Though the South African Schools Act outlines what the new public school system is to look like in a democratic South Africa, it fails to discuss any provisions to equitably bridge the prevailing gap between black and white schools. This has left public schools with overcrowded classrooms, an unprepared teaching staff, and lack of resources. Administrators, teachers and students face the real ramifications from these infrastructure inequalities in their daily lives. For the purposes of our discussion of these issues, we will use the term “infrastructure” to refer to the state of physical facilities, quality of learning materials, amount of school personnel, and equitable funding in a given school.
This documentary draws on research conducted in King Williams Town, South Africa, which is a small town in the Eastern Cape Province. We visited four different schools in the area, ranging from a small city to a rural community. At each of these schools we interviewed administrators, teachers and students about their experiences and their perspectives on the South African education system. We also met with a local branch of the Equal Education organization, which is an activist organization that aims to mobilize youth to advocate for the equal education promised to them by their democratic government.
Building an Equitable Future: Investigating Infrastructure in South African Schools
Dale College Student Transcript
Equal Education Interview Transcript
Z.K. Teachers Interview Transcript
Bisho High School
Funiwe Senior Secondary School
Z. K. Matthews School