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Geography 400 Class Blog
Class project for Geography 400
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NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools

NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools | Geography 400 Class Blog | Scoop.it
Celia Dugger reports from the Kwamfundo School near Cape Town on South Africa's struggling public education system.

 

This poignant clip shows that South Africa may be in a post-apartheid era, but most certainly not a post-racial era as schools are as deeply divided as ever. 

 

APR-

Can we ever really say that apartheid or other racist forms of discriminatory government are ever really gone? While on paper it's been 18 years since the democratic elections heralded he beginning of “equality” can it be said that there has been a true sea change? The rules of apartheid didn’t simply dissolve overnight – the teachers that are currently educating the newly “equal” were themselves educated under a system that promoted “black African” or “coloured” people as best suited to hard labour and service industries.

When the educators are not all “engaged” in the school and students, it will have a negative impact on the quality of education. The statistic where many teachers come in late or simply don’t show up at all shows that the students themselves, while suffering, have a solution: teach it themselves. In the education system that we are indoctrinated into would a student be held accountable for educating his or her peers in lieu of a teacher? Of course not.

There is another shocking statistic: less that 50% graduate high school and a smaller minority ever goes on to higher education. In Rhode Island, Central Falls is often seen as the “worst” performing school district, but if InfoWorks 2012 is correct 70.3% of students graduate high school, with a further 1.2% completing a GED program. What would our country look like if only 50% of our students graduated? Would they feel that they had "won freedom?"


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Melissa Marie Falco-Dargitz's curator insight, November 23, 2014 12:27 PM

It is a fight for South African children to make it through school. The loss in their lives, the lack of dedicated teachers, and a broken public school system all bring these kids down. The hope and promise seen in the eyes of these kids, who want to achieve great things, is a beacon of better things to come for this nation, if they are willing to invest in the future.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 8:06 AM

Race is definitely a determining factor in the quality and division of South Africa's public schools. Discrimination is definitely  a problem that is hard to get rid of because it is institutionalized even after public policy may change. This also has happened in the United States. Our school systems are also racially segregated even though the US has passed laws against it. After the Apartheid government took such drastic measures to strip the rights of its Black citizens, the institutions that were formed around those ideas still exist. 

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 19, 1:14 PM

It's difficult to overcome something as oppressive as colonial rule and apartheid. South Africa's schools are still trying do so in a post-apartheid era. Judging from this video, the students have the desire to learn and better themselves to become what the country needs in order to succeed but the teachers and education system itself lacks the desire. I loved seeing the that some of the students actually step up and take charge of the class to help them learn. It's difficult to educate youth if the teachers have no desire to do so and you can't expect the students to move on to college and become a doctor or a chemist if they are unable to pass their science class. It amazed me that with all the struggles these students were going through in their personal lives, they were upbeat and ready and willing to learn.

 

Also, the singing impressed. Not because they were good, but I imagined trying to get a class of 15 year old students in America that were not taking a specifically music class to sing. I could only imagine the groans and refusal to participate from them!

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The True Size Of Africa

The True Size Of Africa | Geography 400 Class Blog | Scoop.it
Seeing the land masses of the world fairly neatly fit into the continent of Africa reminds me just how little that part of the world gets discussed in general.

I'd love to see a mashup of this map and "continents/countries by population."


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Afrikasources's curator insight, January 15, 2014 10:10 AM

Just a reminder

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 11:01 AM

It is incredible big, but unfortunately most of the north area is cover by the big Sahara and most of the are is typically unfertilized. 

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 9, 4:29 PM

As we can see, there's a little overlapping here and some empty spots but it's pretty accurate. The United States and China are in the top 5 largest countries of the world list and they still fit in the 2nd largest continent of the world, Africa. I'd like to see the size comparison between Africa and Russia. I did some research on that and it turns out that Russia is a little over half the size of Africa, maybe the size of the combination of the United States and China.

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Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement ...

 

Community, agriculture, gender, politics and the environment... it's all here in this inspiring clip.  

 

APR: It's good to see that, despite the repression, Wangari Maathai maintained her vision - and contributed to reforms in the government. Her goal of "reforesting" will also benefit the entire planet, and truly survive as a legacy to her country and people.


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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 13, 2014 11:31 AM

Maathai is an incredible woman. Her efforts are improving the environment and agriculture in Africa. Another interesting note on her story is that she partnered with a Norwegian group to start the greenbelt movement, showing how globalization can also apply to shared efforts to do good.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, March 19, 1:56 PM

This is an incredible peace of Wangari Maathai, who is from the same country i am from Kenya, and she had a powerful movement from a simple act of planting trees in hope of helping her environment, and women was looked at as a fool and looked down upon, she is an icon and vision able leader amongst most Kenyan women today. She created a path for most of the young girls and had her clear message was to protect your environment, create paths and a future for yourself, she is an icon and her movement will continue to impact not only my life but others globally.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 31, 8:22 PM

Land is a pretty valuable thing. As are civil rights. When a women, a gender traditionally looked upon as inferior in Kenya, takes a bunch of other women and starts a movement to plant trees so they could better the lives of all in the country, she tends to be looked down upon by the government. Maathai even attracted the attention of the Kenyan President who dismissed her as just some women. Her tree planting initiative eventually lead to nationwide movements that lead to demise of that very president that dismissed her movement as a waste of time and effort.

 

When we watched this clip in class, I was amazed by not only her bravery to stand up to such a ruler but by her devotion to something so simple as wanting to plant trees so the people of Kenya had food to eat and fuel to cook with.