I realized how large the education gap between the low income earners and the middle income earners is.
Bertha is our cleaning lady. She comes in and gives the house a good cleaning twice a week. She is a product of the old South Africa. She got a Standard 6 (grade 8) and was then sent to work, cleaning houses. She is under the impression that kids go to school to be educated. The concept of being “schooled” at home is very foreign to her.
Bertha is always amazed by what Jessie can do and the things she says. She often comments, “and she doesn’t go to school”. She seems floored that a child of 3 can write her own name, count to 10 and have a few sight words. For Bertha, these things are a huge deal! For us, we acknowledge that Jessie is clever and doing really well. But its not something completely unexpected. She sees us doing these things all the time and she wants to do them too.
Bertha has never seen a child so young, do these things. Which means that its something that she didn’t/couldn’t pass on to her own kids. Which also probably means that there’s an entire generation who couldn’t, and the cycle is just continuing.
Yes, it could be cultural (but I don’t think so). Yes, its probably apartheid related too. Yesn, its also the fault of schools and the government today. Teachers in the poorer areas are so overloaded (50+kids to a single teacher) that effective education is extremely difficult.
Parents in the lower income areas are just not equipped to be able to teach their kids the basics. They’ve been led to believe that they need to outsource their children’s education in order for their kids to learn. By the time their kids get to school, they are already behind and spend the rest of their school years trying to catch-up.
This could all be alleviated with a form if homeschool. Imagine if every parent with a 3 year old was taught/encouraged to read to their children for 30minutes a day. Imagine if every parent knew the benefits of these 30minutes. If parents knew just how much better they were making it for their children… The possibilities are endless.
It won’t fix things, it won’t change the kids over-night. But it will help them to get off to a better start education-wise. With every generation, it will get better.
And one day, the gap will start to close.