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Education in South Africa

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South Africa has 12.3 million learners, 386,000 teachers and around 48,000 schools – including 390 special needs schools and 1,000 registered private schools. Of all the schools, are high schools (Grade 8 to 12) and the rest are primary schools (Grade 1 to 7). School life spans 13 years - or grades - although the first year of education, grade 0 or "reception year", and the last three years, grade 10, 11 and grade 12 or "matric" are not compulsory. Many Primary schools offer grade 0, although this pre-school year may also be completed at Nursery school. Recently, great advances have been made in the introduction of new technology to the formerly disadvantaged schools. Organizations such as Khanya,[1] (Nguni for enlightenment) have worked to provide computer access in state schools. A recent national initiative has been the creation of "FOCUS" schools. These specialise in specific curriculum areas (Business & Commerce, Engineering, Arts & Culture) and are very similar to the UK specialist schools programme. For university entrance, a "Matriculation Endorsement" is required, although some universities do set their own additional academic requirements. South Africa has a vibrant higher education sector, with more than a million students enrolled in the country’s universities and universities of technology. All the universities are autonomous, reporting to their own councils rather than government. Pre-colonial education

Many African societies placed strong emphasis on traditional forms of education well before the arrival of Europeans. Adults in Khoisan- and Bantu-speaking societies, for example, had extensive responsibilities for transmitting cultural values and skills within kinship-based groups and sometimes within larger organizations, villages, or districts. Education involved oral histories of the group, tales of heroism and treachery, and practice in the skills necessary for survival in a changing environment. Colonial education

The earliest European schools in South Africa was established in the Cape Colony in the late seventeenth century by Dutch Reformed Church elders committed to biblical instruction, which was necessary for church confirmation. In rural areas, itinerant teachers (meesters ) taught basic literacy and math skills. British mission schools proliferated after 1799, when the first members of the London Missionary Society arrived in the Cape Colony. Language soon became a sensitive issue in education. At least two dozen English-language schools operated in rural areas of the Cape Colony by 1827, but their presence rankled among devout Afrikaners, who considered the English language and curriculum irrelevant to rural life and Afrikaner values. Throughout the nineteenth century, Afrikaners resisted government policies aimed at the spread of the English language and British values, and many educated their children at home or in the churches. After British colonial officials began encouraging families to emigrate from Britain to the Cape Colony in 1820, the Colonial Office screened applicants for immigration for background qualifications. They selected educated families, for the most part, to establish a British presence in the Cape Colony, and after their arrival, these parents placed a high priority on education. Throughout this time, most religious schools in the eastern Cape accepted Xhosa children who applied for admission, and in Natal many other Nguni-speaking groups sent their children to mission schools after the mid-nineteenth century. The government also financed teacher training classes for Africans as part of its pacification campaign throughout the nineteenth century. By 1877 some 60 percent of school-age children in Natal were enrolled in school, as were 49 percent in the Cape Colony. In the Afrikaner republics, however, enrollments remained low—only 12 percent in the Orange Free State and 8 percent in the Transvaal—primarily the result of Afrikaner resistance... Show More

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