MANY Namibians will no doubt be jubilant that a South African education group called Curro Holdings Limited has chosen to open a private university in our beloved land. We learn from one of the daily newspapers that the plans to set up the private university are at advanced stage but being kept under wraps. Apparently the reasons are that negotiations with several international universities are underway and hence the need for top secrecy not to jeopardise the delicate negations.
The Windhoek Gymnasium Private School is a key entry point for the envisaged university planned to open its doors by January 2017. Some conflicting information sent via sms on 18th October claimed the university is being opened to cater for South Africans because of the current Malema-inspired chaos in the South African education system. The sms claimed the Namibian Ministry of Higher Education, Innovation and Training has already approved the opening of the Curro University.
There are a few things that will bother some critical thinking Namibians about this unfolding story of South African tertiary education system transferring their problems into Namibia, as if we don’t have enough problems of our own. First is concern for the pattern of continuous recolonisation of Namibia by South African companies in the socio-economic sector, for which we are supposed to be eternally grateful to our benefactors and former colonizers.
A few years ago we had a wonderful local bank, City Savings and Investment Bank (CSIB), which was taken over by Swabou, before both were gobbled up by First National Bank of South Africa. Just a few days ago Pointbreak, E-Bank, which had epitomised the innovative spirit of some of our people and talented young people, followed the well-trodden path by being swallowed up by the same First National Bank of South Africa. It would seem the only way First National Bank knows to deal with any potential competition is to swallow up the competition.
The entrance of a South African Private university in Namibia, with ultimate aim to kill Namibian institutions of tertiary education both in the public and private sector of higher education is cause for great concern.
I submit that it could be the real reason for the secrecy however lies in the sinister history of the new organisation which wants to take over some of Namibia’s education institutions. Curro Holdings Limited is well known to South Africans for offering education along racist apartheid lines. The South African and international media have done an excellent job to report on the racial segregation education policies of the Curro Holdings. Hopefully our lawmakers had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the said reports.
Last year, Curro Holdings were forced to modify their apartheid style education policies or face closure by the Gauteng MEC after black parents demonstrated against the racial discrimination of their children in a Pretoria Curro Holding School. Curro Holdings claimed the segregation was not according to race but culture which coincidentally meant white Afrikaner children could be taught separately and presumably how to maintain their privileged class in the new society ( source: Daily Mail, UK, 13th February, 2015). The international news agency, Reuters, reported in 26th June, 2015 on a case in the north of South Africa, Polokwane, that a head of school has had to be changed because of racist behaviour. Note that the head of that school was not dismissed but changed to another school of the Curro system. A few months ago, the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) protested against discrimination of black people by Curro Holdings. The incident which sparked the demonstrations was a video clip which showed pupils in Curro schools being forced to take separate buses according to their races while going for a school visit. The discriminatory treatment of learners going for school visits was also reported in the Citizen, 18th June 2016.
The racism in Curro Holdings has also prompted The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) to take up arms over the treatment of black workers and teachers by Curro Holdings schools. SADTU claimed Curro Holdings apartheid style discrimination included separate toilets for white and non-white teachers, different salary structures for white and non-white teachers, frequent dismissal of non-white teachers, and disrespectful behaviour towards black learners by white teachers, for example, male teachers going into girls dormitories at odd hours even when the girls are getting ready for bed and therefore not fully dressed. The report from the Polokwane Observer of May, 2016, reads like apartheid has come back to life when it comes to Curro Holdings. Most of these cases of harassment and discrimination are under investigation in various parts of South Africa.
Is it the best way forward for Namibian education system to go back to apartheid style education for the majority, I would like to know? Should we continue the practice of economic dependence which seems to be favoured by our short sighted mentality of wanting to welcome anyone who promises mana from heaven even when the evidence points out that this is a devil in sheep’s clothing? The mentality of selling off our companies to South Africa needs to be questioned. The willingness to subject our children to a new form of apartheid education and subtle white supremacy ideologues, even if some misguided black parents are willing to pay for the privilege of miseducation and an education aimed at creating a racial inferiority complex is one I would not support. South African companies seem to slowly turning Namibia into a province of South Africa, once again this must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015