The emerging middle classes of South Africa typically set their hearts on the pickings of their new economic power. Their immediate focus is on the skills and jobs that will help them fund a flashy BMW or Mercedes Benz that will tell the folkto back home in townships that they have arrived. This culture is filtering through the nation’s education systems, too, where the objective is often quantity not quality of results.
A South African writer Eusebius McKaiser is challenging the lack of formal debating training in South African Schools while he completes his doctoral thesis in Philosophy at Oxford University. His compelling arguments are grounded in logic and reason, not on the emotions on which some politicians ride.
McKaiser’s concerns began when he began lecturing at South African Universities. There he found himself immersed in teaching undergraduate students not just how to write properly, but also how to solve problems logically as well. In many cases South African education systems had failed to fully develop their sense of intellectual curiosity either.
He believes that all South African Secondary Schools urgently require debating clubs. This is because students from Schools that already have these education systems receive a disproportionate number of Rhodes and Commonwealth scholarships. Although he does concede that many of these institutions have superior educational environments and more carefully chosen pupils, this is still no reason not to give all kids as equal a crack at life as possible.
Eusebius McKaiser’s vision is that one day all South Africans will possess the skills to reason unemotionally and logically. This will equip them not only to be the nation’s leaders of the future, but also to develop more successful careers. This vision will take time to build, particularly in rural areas where many South African Schools have no libraries, debating classes or internet links at all.