Writers Talk About Education

Recently, the Writing and Editing 4 class went to the Franschhoek Literary Festival. We spent almost four cold and very busy days rushing from one panel to the next. There were a lot of very interesting topics that were talked about by writers, editors, journalists and teachers from South Africa, Africa and all over the world. One of my personal favourite topics to listen into, as an Ukufunda writer, was that of education.

There was so much said about education, even when the panels weren’t set to discuss it as their main topic. You’ve already received some of the wise words in the other two pieces I wrote, but I didn’t want to just leave it at that – there were so many other interesting things said. But to write all of it down would take weeks and weeks. So I took the compromise. Below is a short list of quotes from people smarter than me talking about their view on education, reading and schools. If anybody would like to talk to me about these, please feel free to email the blog or comment below.

“The reason so many people are doing badly in poor schools is because the standard is so low. Unless you take [the learners] seriously, they will perform to your expectations. Why are our young people not angry they are being dumbed down? It’s because they want things to be easier for them. There’s this internal belief that [a low pass rate is] acting in their best interests. But it’s not. Yes, you have a matric, but what can you do with that?” – Dr Jonathan Jansen.

“It’s important to note that IQ does not equal intelligence. There’s a misconception that people with high IQ are smart, and people with low IQ are stupid, and that’s that. But you can have a high IQ and do very stupid things. IQ measures how good you are with certain things, like math and science. Those people can do terribly at art, or dancing, or music. And even people with high IQs are usually only good at a certain thing – a maths person might be terrible at remembering sequences, for example.” – Gavin Evans

“Two things influence how well you’ll do in life – your actual intelligence. Those two things are nutrition, and level of education. This notion that we must only teach those students with a high IQ is damaging beyond belief. IQ is genetic, but also environmental, and it only speaks to a small part of intelligence.” – Gavin Evans.

“It’s all very good and well to say we need to give books value. But asking even ten cents for a book from a family that switches their fridge off before the end of the month because there’s no food to fill it is not going to work. They won’t spend that money. Even ten cents. The more you put something in the world, the more the world wants it. And this is the way with books.” – Arthur Attwell.



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