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ERIC Number: EJ988330
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1478-8497
Disaffected or Displaced? A Brief Analysis of the Reasons for Academic Failure amongst Young South Africans
Soudien, Crain
International Journal on School Disaffection, v4 n1 p6-13 2006
For the last four years the author has been involved with the design, administration and writing up of the results of competency tests which have been conducted for Grades 3 (ages 8-9)and 6 (ages 11-12) in his home province of the Western Cape, South Africa. In the course of this work, he and some of his colleagues working on this project have had to suppress an extreme jumble of emotions, as they have had to confront the terrible reality that South Africa's children are abjectly failing at the most basic levels in their reading and writing in ways that raise profound questions. Why is it that this country, often described as an upper-middle income country, and which has in the last 10 years gone through such enormous changes for the better, has so little to show educationally for all the efforts that have been put into social improvement? This essay begins with a review of a range of results from recent competency tests, opening up the question of what lines of enquiry one might begin to explore to account for South Africa's young people appearing to be in such difficulty. In attempting to account for failure in the academic domain, a great deal of current commentary is neglecting the extent to which the social realities of South Africa continue to influence, shape and even determine the life as it is lived and experienced both by groups and individuals in the country. The school, as any sociology primer for education will point out, is in some ways able to insulate itself from the rest of society and can, on some occasions, produce an internal and self-referential environment for itself, but it is extremely difficult for its inhabitants to live independently of the wider world. It is more likely to be the case that it exists in a "dependent" relationship with that wider world. This is the case, the author wants to suggest, for South Africa, where the kind of failure that one is seeing in the schools is the cumulative product of extensive and deep sociological realities that are brought into the school and held in conversation with the school through the children and their teachers. He points out that young people fail because their material, cultural and social environments are at odds with the orderliness of the school. It is out of this that a more encompassing explanation for academic failure might emanate. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa