Appendix 2: The Effects Of The South African Government’s Educational Policy On The Education Of The Indian People

The central thesis of the policy of apartheid is white supremacy its preservation and perpetuation - based on Black servitude. The realisation of this object of apartheid is ruthlessly pursued in every walk of life - political, social, economic, cultural and educational - white supremacy can only be a reality with the total emasculation of the "non-white" peoples.

In the sphere of education the key principle of the Government's policy is that of non-equality in opportunity and provisions aimed at providing a minimal education to the "non-white" peoples whilst at the same time creating and providing optimal conditions for the education of the whites. The general effect of such a policy ensures a vast disparity in the educational attainments of the two national groups.

Whereas emphasis is placed on the effects of the educational policy on the Indian people, the purpose here is not to project the treatment of the Indian people as a separate "non-white" entity with problems exclusively peculiar to itself, but merely to demonstrate the validity of a basic tenet of apartheid - viz., racialism is indiscriminate and indivisible. It subjects all the "non-white" peoples to the matrix of oppression with only the slight variances in the order and degree of this matrix.

1. Expenditure on Education

In 1965 the Republic of South Africa spent approximately 4.5 percent of its total national income on education and training at all levels for all the people.

For 1965 this amounted to approximately R326,475,000. The distribution, however, was as follows:

77.27 per cent for the Europeans (population: 3,395,000), 9.45per cent for the Coloureds (population: 1,742,000), 4.38 per cent for Asiatics (population: 533,000, including about 7,500 Chinese people) and 2.39 per cent for the African people (population: 12,162,000)

Without exception, at all levels of education, the overwhelming bias in favour of the white minority group is maintained. The effect is not only a steady depression in the educational aspirations of the "non-white" majority, but an ever-widening gap between the main national groups.

2. The Pupil-Teacher Ratio

By the end of 1964 there were some 730,000 White pupils at school compared with some 145,000 Indians. At the same time there were approximately 32,000 white teachers as compared to 4,400 Indian teachers thus giving a teacher-pupil ratio of about 1:33 for Indians and 1:22 for whites. For the African people this ratio was approximately 1:73 as far back as 1960.

According to Mr. P. H. T. Nel, recently appointed Director of Indian Education, approximately 40 per cent of all Indian teachers in employment were not fully qualified, while 10 per cent of these were wholly unqualified academically, possessing not even the minimum requirements or training. In the context of the policy of inequality, this serves two purposes simultaneously - a considerable saving of money, since unqualified teachers are paid less, as well as a deliberate lowering in the standard of education provided. With an ever-increasing exodus of graduates and experienced teachers from education to other better-paid employment, or emigration to countries offering more attractive salaries and conditions, the incidence of unqualified teacher employment is aggravated.

3. The Platoon System

At the same time, Mr. Nel stated that some 30,000 children in certain areas and schools in Natal have to attend school during the afternoons due to an estimated shortage of some 1,000 class-rooms. The platoon system, as the afternoon school classes are termed, is operating in some 133 schools involving about 800 teachers. The system has already been in continuous use for the last fifteen years.

In the Transvaal, the platoon system was originally instituted in Johannesburg for primary school children more than twenty years ago. It is still being operated. Recently, a similar shortage of schools in the Indian Group Area of Lenasia in the Transvaal saw the introduction of the system during 1963 to 1964.

There can be no doubt that educationally afternoon classes are detrimental to maximal learning. Lack of accommodation, over-crowding in class-rooms, and insufficient educational equipment are powerful factors in the general depression of educational standards of the "non-white" peoples.

4. The Policy of Self-Education

Of particular significance is the unfair burden which the educational policy of the Government places on the "non-white" people, the burden of providing for the education of their children largely through their own efforts.

Thus out of about 281 schools in the Natal province in 1966 , only 51 were actually built by the educational authority on its own: 220 were built by the Indian community on a rand-for-rand basis at a cost of well over R2 million to itself. This dire economic sacrifice falls on a community whose per capita income in 1960 was R147 as compared with R925 for the Europeans who are not called upon to make additional contributions for the education of their children. Besides, all school equipment and educational aid are only provided on a rand-for-rand basis.

5. Salaries

As in all other spheres of employment, remuneration is not based on the principle of equal pay for equal work by equally qualified persons, but on colour. An equally qualified Indian male teacher earns approximately 58 per cent of the salary of his white counterpart; women earn approximately 50 per cent of the salary of a white woman teacher.

The figure for African teachers is 41 per cent for men and 37 percent for women, relative to the earnings of white teachers.

6. Distribution of Pupils and Academic Attainments

The emphasis of the educational system vis-Á -vis the "non-white" people is markedly on primary education.

According to the Statistical Yearbook for 1964, based on the 1960 census, the following figures obtained:

(a) 65.7 per cent of the total white population had passed Standard 5, (immediate pre-secondary school year), as compared with 23.8 percent of the total Indian population and 8.2 per cent of the total African population;

(b) 15.39 per cent of the total white population had passed Standard 10 (Form 5), as compared to 1.37 per cent Asians and 0.13 per cent Africans.

The distribution of pupils in the primary and secondary levels in 1965 was as follows:

Asiatics Whites

Primary Schools 82 per cent 66.2 per cent

Secondary Schools 18 per cent 33.8 per cent

It is the calculated policy of apartheid which operates to depress the educational attainments of the "Non-European" people. Without an understanding of the machinations of apartheid at all levels of life for the "non-white" peoples, figures like the above would tend to lead the uninitiated to the erroneous conclusion, (one that the exponents of the theory of "white superiority" always use), that the "non-white" peoples are mentally inferior.

Despite the overwhelmingly oppressive nature of apartheid, academic attainments are by no means completely blunted. Thus at the end of 1965 the results for the Matriculation examination were as follows:

Asiatics Whites

Number of entrants 1,300 45,000

Percentage passes 55 per cent 57 per cent

Of particular significance in this respect is the comparability of performances for the two groups at equivalent examinations. This however is not the case with the results obtained by African pupils under the "Bantu education" system. Figures snow that there has been a steady deterioration of passes since the introduction of the system in 1953. The range is from approximately 47 per cent passes in 1953 to about 17 per cent in 1960.

7. Vocational Training

The only institution providing any technical and vocational training for Indians is the M. L. Sultan College in Durban, Natal. There is no such institution in the Transvaal.

8. University Education

In 1959, the policy of apartheid was extended to university education by the Extension of University Education Act. The Act restricted the entrance of "non-white" students as far as the "open" universities were concerned. Henceforth "non-white" students were required to go to racially and ethnically exclusive colleges.

Despite the title of the Act, however, the fields of study open to "non-white" students were rigorously determined by the type of employment open to them. There is no place for "non-white" architects,engineers, chemists, surveyors, etc., in apartheid-ruled South Africa.

The most pressing factor militating against university education is the high cost entailed. Enrolment fees alone amount to about R600 over the normal three-year course. The intense economic difficulties with which the people have to contend in order merely to exist, makes higher education an almost unattainable goal.

Despite all the hardships placed in their way, "non-white" students and parents generally sacrifice tremendously to obtain university education. In this field too the disparity between the two national groups is vast. Excluding the "non-white" colleges, the following is a summary of degrees and diplomas awarded in 1963 by South African universities:

Whites Coloureds Africans Asiatics

Degrees and diplomas 5,517 58 117 146

Post-graduate 682 10 19 26

In terms of the Separate Universities Act, Salisbury College was established in 1960 to provide for higher education for Indians. The college's "temporary" premises are a former naval barracks on Salisbury Island in Durban Bay. By 1967, the proposed new premises had still not materialised. The college offers courses in only Arts, Pure Science, Commerce and Education.

The establishment of the college however was met by widespread disapproval by the Indian community and student body throughout the Republic, but rigorous application of the Act forced students to enrol. As a result of the strict and authoritarian control of student activities and wishes - for example, the Students` Representative Council was forbidden by the university authorities from affiliating to the National Union of South African Students - student unrest and agitation was rife since its establishment. This culminated in the arrest and detention of a number of students in 1964 and the subsequent imprisonment of one, Subya Moodley, for a year on charges of incitement, slogan-painting and distribution of leaflets.

9. The Group Areas Act

Of significance is the manner in which the Government used the Indian children to enforce the Group Areas Act in the case of those Indians resident in Johannesburg and the surrounding areas. In 1960 the Group Areas Board, responsible for the implementation of the Act, declared that the only high school for Indian children in Johannesburg would no longer serve as a high school, but as a teacher training college. Parents were asked to send their children to the high schools in the Indian group area of Lenasia, some 22 miles away. Despite widespread protests by the children and the community, the Board refused to change its ruling. By 1963 pupils were forced to travel a round trip forty-four miles daily. With a view to the welfare of their children, many Indian families moved to Lenasia. Previously,the Indian community, led by the Transvaal Indian Congress, had resisted by establishing a school financed entirely by the community. This multi-racial venture in teaching - the staff was composed of Indians,Africans, Coloureds and Europeans - was eventually forced to close down because of persistent intimidation by the Security Police, bannings of members of staff, and a serious lack of funds after about eight years.

10. The Indian Education Act, No. 66, 1965

With the passing of the Indian Education Act in 1965, a structurally uniform pattern of education for the "non-white" peoples was consummated. The Act is the logical extension of the Bantu Education Act of 1953 and the Coloured Persons Education Act of 1963, and hence the general policy of apartheid. The Act provides for the control of the education of Indians by its appropriate racial institution- the Indian Affairs Department.

A cursory examination of some of the clauses of the Act can leave no one in doubt as to its intentions - that of rigorously policing the education of the Indians within the framework of the Government's basic policy. In so far as many of the main clauses deal with teachers,the Act also provides the key for the implementation of its policy- the teacher himself. Thus Clause 16 (g) states that he cannot be a member of any party, political organisation or group which the Government deems undesirable; nor can he participate in its activities or further its aims in any way deemed to cause embarrassment or danger to the State as a whole. Furthermore, he cannot publicly, otherwise than at a meeting approved of previously by the Minister of Indian Affairs, criticise the administration of any State Department (Clause 16 (f)). Neither can he disclose, other than in the immediate discharge of his duties as a teacher, any information gathered, nor use any such information other than in the discharge of his duties (Clause 16 (n)). It is clear that the fundamental purpose of the teacher is vitiated. He becomes a tool in the systematic implementation of a rabid racist policy.

Furthermore the Act does not provide for the real participation of the Indian people in the formulation and execution of educational policies.

There can be no doubt that the principle of non-equality of provisions and opportunities in education is a grave threat to the well-being and development of the non-white peoples. At the same time, however,the deliberate imposition of non-equality forms the basis of the intensification of the under-development of the non-white majority,and hence the maintenance and continuation of white supremacy.

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo South Africa's Freedom Struggle: Statements, Speeches and Articles including Correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi

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