Researchers in education practise reveal that mostly students that succeed in their studies and in their workplace, are students from privilege homes because their parents can afford to give them better elementary and higher education, where there is higher class in administration and good assessments which leads to excellent outcomes (Fengu 2018). However, in South Africa the majority of student(black) do not get this chance because they are from poor homes that cannot afford the luxury of standard education. This is unfairness because there is unequal treatment in the education system. For example, black children who attend public schools they get substandard education because the schools they attend have poor infrastructure, classrooms are clustered and there are few materials to support learners (Swanepoel & Fengu 2017). This make student to underperform. The aim of this assessment, is to convey justice and equal education opportunity to every learner by addressing justice as equity and ubuntu, and equal education opportunities, evaluating South African landscape through usage of examples and discussing the significance of Nussbaum and Khumashiro for fair education in south Africa.2.Theoretical lens: justice as equity and Ubuntu, and equal education opportunities.
According to Rawls justice is seen as fairness or everyone should get the same treatment no matter what. For instance, every child has an opportunity to go to school and learn. Meaning every child is given an opportunity to go to school no matter which background they are coming from (rich or poor). However, this equality but not equity. Equity (fairness) will be that every child (privilege or not privilege) has a right to attend schools that have “excellent management, assessment and parental involvement” (Fengu). This means that all children will have an equal good education and every child can succeed every ambition they have for themselves. The aim of this framework is to display just education as equity and Ubuntu to the notion of equal education opportunities. John Rawls (1971) proposed two principles to elaborated further on how justice is fairness (Equity) in his publication A Theory of Justice. The two principles of justice states:
1.Each person is to have an equal right to most extensive total system of basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.
This means Every anyone should be free to do anything they want to do as long every has the same right to do so. For example, in education if a leaner has a right to attend a good quality school with no fees paid then all other learner has the right to do so (Education policy: School fees 2007). This gives every child an opportunity to free education and it also demonstrate Ubuntu in the way that the education systems show that it values every child the same way.
The second principle will be: Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both: (a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged… (b) attached to office and position open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunities.
This means that the poor should get the best possible condition. For example, learners from poor homes who attend public school due to lack of paying fees for excellent private education, they should also get the best education by having the qualified teachers, good and same environment as the private schools, good quality of material for learning and any other source of learning that will provide the poor learners with high quality of education that learners from private schools get (Fengu,2018). This gives the non-privileged children equal education opportunity same as the rich students and make them look and feel equal to one another.
This means everyone has a right to get any position under fair circumstance without being discriminated against, bias or judged of their social background. For example, student should get the same fair opportunity to participate in any activity or do any subject of their choice without being discriminated against their colour, gender, social background or economic status (Shields, Liam, Newman, Anne, Satz &Debra 2017).
Overall, Rawls definition of fairness it symbolizes Ubuntu because it shows all the characteristics of Ubuntu such as caring, kindness, value, morals and nations of traditional African communal justice (Letseka 2014).
3. Critical evaluation of issues in the South African landscape.
Before South Africa it became a democratic and constitutional country it was ruled by apartheid system. This system affected black people mostly because they were the oppressed. Apartheid it had its own education system known as Bantu system. This education system had four education stems- white, Indians, coloured and black. These systems did not have equality in terms of funding’s and facilities, black schools used to get less funding and facilities compared to the three (Wilfred 2014 pp 3). The system ended and change was expected in the education system where every child will have same equal right as other children. The constitution introduced new laws and policies. Every single child in South Africa rich or poor has a right to access to education, equity, and quality education (Bill of rights). Our country continues to undergo injustices in terms of education and factors such as Gangsterism and well as shortage of schools are major issues and contributors to these inequalities.
Gangsterism in our country is a major cause of illiteracy in our education system – those that belong in subordinate groups often resort to Gangsterism as a means of survival. Gangsterism is often centred on the use and selling of drugs as well as engaging in other criminal offenses. What makes Gangsterism even worse is that the youth is engaging in it and schools are effected and thus it is incredibly important that schools reiterate that violence and drugs cannot be tolerated in schools at all (IOL,2016). It is even more important that the government steps in and comes up with strategies in order to fix this problem by considering facts like unemployment and poverty…orphan hood and child abuse (IOL.2016) and really digging deep into how Gangsterism really comes about and how this can be fixed.
Not only is there a shortage of schools but there is also a shortage of adequate facilities in schools such as toilets and libraries. In the Gauteng province alone there is a shortage of 726 libraries and almost 500 libraries (News, 2017) as well as overcrowded classroom (a national problem in South African schools and tertiary institutions). Our Department of Education is the one to be held responsible for such inadequacies as within the budget that they are give, the fail to build schools and classrooms at a pace that pertains with the number of students that need schools. It has come to the point where mobile classrooms have been established in provinces such as the Western Cape to try fix this issue as it is damaging our education system further.
Socio-economic inequalities affect our education system greatly and the education landscape at large. The poorer the individual, the less likely they are to be exposed to a good education or equal educational opportunities and that is the harsh truth we face. Whereas, it is the opposite for the more advantaged people therefore it can be stated that the continued dualism in the education system that produces distinctly different learning outcomes (Fengu, M.2018).
4. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF VARIOUS KEY CONCEPTS FOR MORE JUST EDUCATION IS SOUH AFRICA
Our education system is in a very bad state and to some onlookers, it may portray itself as a complete fiasco therefore initiatives have to be taken to remedy this bad state and end these injustices (promote justice) that occur to ensure that everyone has equal educational opportunities. Theories posed by Martha C Nussbaum and Kevin Kumashiro give us ideas on how we can make our education systems better and how they can be liberating for those on the receiving end of them. Firstly, Nussbaum’s theory of a liberal education and how it goes hand in hand with citizenship will be discussed as well as that of Kumashiro’s that seeks a liberating education (Anti-Oppressive) for all. Both theories will then be joined and discussed in order to show how they both work towards the same thing: establishing a just education,
4.1 Martha C Nussbaum- “Education and Democratic Citizenship: Capabilities and Quality Education”
Nussbaum raises very important points and criticizes the way learners are educated as well as what they are taught. She argues that a narrow focus in our schooling systems is dangerous for the democracy’s future (Nussbaum C, M.2006:385). She feels that education should be primarily focused on critical thinking, world citizenship, and imaginative understanding. In doing this, the schooling system breeds learners who are critical thinkers who are able to realise inequalities that exist.
According to Nussbaum, the close bond between education and critical thinking about one’s social environment (Nussbaum C, M. 2004) is essential in a sense that it allows for the disadvantaged people, learners specifically, to be able to be aware of the inequalities that exist that affect them. Nussbaum stresses the vitality of the arts in building up an education that is liberating and one that allows learners to expand their minds pass the classroom by engaging in thought evoking activities. By making learners engage in arts, education will be inclusive and it will ultimately serve as an antidote for fear (Nussbaum C, M: 2006).In relation to good citizenship and Ubuntu and Equity, it is clear to see that good citizenship comes with consideration for others as well as putting their needs before your own (especially if you are privileged, to end those inequalities).
Ubuntu and equity as a result of good citizenship could contribute greatly to the South African education landscape as individuals and groups of people could work hand in hand in ensuring that everyone has a chance or is exposed to equal education opportunities.
4.2 Kevin Kumarisho: “Towards a theory of Anti –Oppressive Education”
Kumashiro discusses how the inequalities that exist in schools are more oppressive than they are unjust. He makes us aware of the fact not only do some people get marginalized and are made minorities but beyond that, they are discriminated against not only by society but by schools as well.
Kumashiro makes us aware that the groups that are marginalized fall under the category of “Other” (in terms of school) are those that are not stereotypically masculine , learners with disabilities, female learners etc. These learners are often exposed to physical and verbal violence (towards them) by both teachers and respective peers and various forms of isolation and exclusion (Kumashiro, K, 2000:27).
In his idea of a more just education, Kumashiro proposes that teachers play an active role in ending discrimination in the school environment and to educate learners and make them aware that there are different people and it is important to treat them with respect and consideration. In other words, teachers should work together in making the school an inclusive and safe space for every learner and implementing a movement against its own complicity with oppression (Kumashiro K, 2000:27).
4.3 Combining of Nussbaum and Kumashiro’s ideas to ensure a just education for the South African Education landscape
In a nutshell, Nussbaum focused more on the creation of an education system that enables creativity and Kumashiro, more on ending the oppressive nature of the education system on those that are disadvantaged. Both ideas, although seemingly different, contribute to theories that can be practiced to establish a just education in our South African education landscape as they are centred around the idea of making people and aware of inequalities so as to end them.