ccrri hosts Teachers at Steve Biko Education Debate
The Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) recently hosted a discussion forum with high school teachers on the Steve Biko Education and Gender-Based Violence projects.
ccrri Director Professor Rozena Maart convened the meeting in an effort to ensure the Steve Biko element and gender-based violence issues are addressed and taught at high schools based on collaborative efforts, up-to-date research, and with strong reliance from the UKZN student researchers who were also in attendance.
Speaking at the meeting, Maart said: ‘The Steve Biko element must be taught effectively at schools; we must look at transformation and address post-apartheid. We should be teaching our students issues which reflect our past at high school level and facilitate the process when they come to our University.’
Professor Maart said funding the ccrri received from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation advanced and further developed the process of post-apartheid education through the Biko Education Project.
‘Our objective is to recognise and educate our high school students on the teachings of Steve Biko within subjects such as Life Orientation (LO) and History and to give our UKZN students the opportunity to participate in this process. We should also be further equipping our students on gender-based violence within what we teach, which is crucial,’ said Maart.
‘Students should be made aware that gender-based violence doesn’t only affect young women but young men too. It is imperative to start this at high schools because it is education that feeds the nation,’ said Maart.
During the discussion, teachers revealed that many of their students didn’t know who Biko was and were unaware of important issues pertaining to his life, his philosophy and his ideas, much the same with gender-based violence. Student researchers who work with ccrri are actively addressing these areas and participating in this programme whereby they address the link between high schools and university.
A Grade 12 history teacher at Ingqungqulu High School, Ms Zondile Ngqoba, said, ‘It is truly inspiring to teach the students about Steve Biko but we need to find more interesting ways to teach our students about this great man. For students, learning history with the same narrative and question and answer methods doesn’t excite them.
‘We often use the prescribed textbooks to teach and with the help of the ccrri and their work with the Biko Education project, we hope we can make more students aware of Biko’s contribution to the liberation struggle.’
Towards the end of the meeting, Maart said the Centre planned to assist these schools by offering the teachers CDs, DVDs and other pedagogical material the research groups at the Centre were working on.
She pointed out that bridging the gap between high school learners and university students was one of the objectives of the Biko Education Project.
Maart is also tackling the language barrier by making material accessible in isiZulu and English.
A follow-up meeting with UKZN student researchers and High School teachers takes place on Friday, May 16th, and will involve Professor Barney Pityana, Professor Mabogo More and Ms Usha Moodley.
- Melissa Mungroo