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Back to School: South Africa vs USA

Heading Back to School...
How is this back to school thing supposed to work when each state, county and region are all doing different things??? This is insanity! Whether you agree with how your school is planning the fall return to school or not, let's agree that education is in a precarious spot right now. And I KNOW we all agree that parents are NOT teachers and we need to let the professionals do their thing!
The kids that just graduated missed out on their senior year festivities and now many are missing out on their first real college experience. It's just so sad and depressing. Although my boys weren't seniors this past school year, they were hit hard just the same. Everyone was and is and will be for a while.
Perspective is everything though and we need to focus on what is important in the larger scheme of things. Health, safety, education, family, social interaction, these are all important but nuanced based on many factors. Even a dip in the normal routine can be a huge impact on a family. No one is 'immune' (pun intended) to this.
So, what happens now? We try to make the best decisions we can. We pivot. We adjust. We take precautions. We care. We care about each other.
South Africa - The Cost of Education
Even in the best of circumstances (pre-pandemic), South African kids have had a lot more uncertainty to deal with on the daily. School fees are expensive - and yes, you must pay for your kids education K - 12 and beyond. There are too may kids that drop out after grade 9 because families can't afford it. School uniforms are expensive and, as we know, kids grow --- fast! Hand-me-downs from siblings, cousins, friends, anyone and everyone, is key.
        
Ok, that is a barrier for sure. The inequality gap in education is a wide one in South Africa. Public school education is meh at best and teaching standards are not a thing so it could be that your kid's teacher, isn't actually, a teacher per se. Seriously, that's true. Now I'm not a teacher and homeschooling is definitely NOT for me, but would I want to send my kids to a school where the teachers aren't even educated or prepared to teach? Let me clarify, the black schools tend to be substandard while the white schools are not.
     
Education in America is guaranteed from Kindergarten through grade 12. Every child has the right to an education which is essentially paid for by local, state and federal funds (which includes our taxes, I know, I get it).
Schools Are Unsafe in South Africa
Can you believe that school bathrooms are unsafe in South Africa? Girls are often abused or raped there and many children fall into the pit toilets to a gruesome end. I couldn't even imagine what their mothers worry about each day when their kids go off to school. There can also be crime occurring on school grounds. It's completely unfair and unjust that getting an education can be a dangerous exercise.
Want to hear more? Or do you need to let this sink in for a minute?
Perspective: Put Yourself in Others' Shoes
Talking about Black Lives Matter, Police brutality, inequality and white privilege in America is at a boiling point at the moment. Perhaps a potential silver lining to this catastrophic pandemic is that these issues are entering our collective dialogue in a real way. The ugly truth is out in the open. Life is about your perspective and no two people have the exact same viewpoint.
We must be thankful for what we have and always strive to get better. We must teach our kids to be grateful for what they have and to always strive to be good citizens. We must allow ourselves to be mindful of what is happening in our country, in our schools in our collective world and be focused on success in the endgame and not fight over who is right and who is wrong.
Living in different states in the US and abroad I have witnessed struggle and experienced struggle and I know that with support, education and collaboration we can make this world a better place for the next generation.
Let's Lift Each Other UP!
Keep learning, supporting, promoting, celebrating each other and accept other's perspectives without scolding or judging.
Back to school, back to work, back to life. Let's hold on to our strengths and fix injustices that we see around us. Let's educate our kids and ourselves. And for crying out loud - pay our teachers what they are worth!
In humble gratitude,
Deana, Founder Bosisi Designs
Additional Reading:
https://insideeducation.co.za/2018/08/24/southern-africa-has-low-levels-of-trained-teachers/
https://sifrintakingissue.wordpress.com/tag/south-african-schools/

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