Educational Assess and Opportunity South Africa and Brazil
South Africa and Brazil have been subjected by similar factors which include: Colonization of European powers Both have a large stake in extractive industries such as mining Both have placed excessive political pressure on remote regions Have indigenous populations whose lives have been changed by the economic, political, and cultural forces that the countries colonizers have introduced. “The distribution of income and social opportunity” in both South Africa and Brazil is “among the most unequal in the world.” (Kubow, Fossum 2007)
South Africa BrazilAttribute: Around ¾ of the Attribute: Three main ethnicSouth African population is of groups have influenced BrazilianAfrican descent, and 10.9% are culture: the indigenous peoples orof European descent (chiefly ‘Indians,’ the Portuguese Europeans,British or Dutch), 8.9% of and the Africans, owing to Brazil’smixed descent, and 2.6% are former use of slaves especially inAsian, primarily Indian coastal plantations.(Europa World Year Book,1999).
South Africa BrazilResponse: The doctrine of racial Response: Centuries of intermarriage and racial and culturalseparation became particularly mixing have shaped the Brazilianpronounced beginning with the population. A more unified andapartheid-minded Nationalist distinctly Brazilian ‘race’ hasParty’s rise to power in 1948, the emerged as a result (Gomes 1995).1953 creation of a system of “Bantu In spite of the fact that feweducation,” and later, a school Brazilians have ancestry strictly ofsystem for mixed race or ‘colored one particular group, over half ofpeople’ in 1963 and for Indian the Brazilian population describespeople in 1965. itself as white.
South Africa BrazilEducational Implications: Educational Implications: ThoughApartheid’s formal system of evidence points to limitations in theseparation within these four distinct educational opportunities of lessschool systems adopted differential privileged races, since mostaccess and opportunity into its most Brazilians claim the identity of thefundamental formal structures until dominant or high-status race, theredissent, mounting in the 1970’s and has been a general lack of1980’s, led to the dismantling of the acceptance that racism is asystem and Nelson Mandela’s pronounced problem and a lack ofelection in 1994 as the first South recognition for its negative effectsAfrican president from the racial in terms of differentiatedmajority. educational access (Neuhouser, 1999).
Until 1994 apartheid dictated social conditions for the countrys racial groups. This resulted in massive redistribution of non white racial groups to “homelands”. Homelands were generally areas that were least promising for economic development. This population redistribution caused unequal distribution of wealth. Because of this past policy rural schools are still far behind the schools in South Africas cities.
Beginning in the 16th century the coastal area of Brazil was recognized by Portuguese settlers by the commercial potential. Large land parcels went to a few settling families which now has lead to concentrated wealth in the hands of a few elites. This has lead to a pattern of privilege & power that has created a social stratification that creates inequalities in educational access & opportunity. Poverty is wide spread to cites where many have relocated as well as in rural area which compromise the educational opportunity and access to many. Distributions of education is severe in both Brazil and South Africa.
Poverty disrupts educational access in many waysFormal education in Brazil and South Africa competes for time with otherpriorities and needs of the poor such as... ◦ Obtaining food and water ◦ School-aged children working to help support the family ◦ Older children being expected to care for younger siblings and complete domestic chores while parents workMaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Students are unlikely to reach for goals ofself-actualization (e.g. education) when basic needs are not first met
Cycle of Ineducability –Conditions and environment of the poor disrupt educationalaccess from generation to generationPoverty goes hand in hand with poor health and nutrition ◦ Results in increased likelihood of children having learning disabilities or congenital problems ◦ Communicable diseases run rampant in urban slums due to lack of sanitation issues (e.g. sewage disposal, water pollution, etc.) ◦ HIV/AIDS threats high in Brazil’s cities and widespread across all of South Africa (rural and urban areas) South Africa has the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world 24% of pregnant urban South African women are infected Effects South Africa’s ability to produce and maintain a teaching workforceUrban slums have higher crime and violence rates ◦ Brazil and South Africa both undergoing intensive urbanization ◦ Brazilian Favelas have become centers of organized crime Results in lack of qualified people willing to work in dangerous school settings and limited public school services provided Resident Associations formed to provide basic schooling to children in the favelas
Poor uninformed about the benefits of education Brazil ◦ Paulo Friere (1921-1997) ◦ Began work in Northeast Brazil to promote literacy (3/4 of population was illiterate) ◦ Central goal of his life’s work ◦ Pedagogy of the Oppressed – most famous and influential writing ◦ Saw literacy as a tool for the poor the develop concientizacao ( a level of consciousness) of their own oppressors in order to gain empowerment and determination to change their lives South Africa ◦ Poverty follows racial lines as a result of historically institutionalized separatist/racist policies of apartheid ◦ Inequalities in education opportunities is a focus of the struggle of the black majority
Brazilian construct of “race” is complex: ◦ -People having same skin color can be categorized differently based on other physical characteristics. ◦ -Social standings affects racial designation as well, with people of higher social status being perceived as “whiter” ◦ -Social familiarity- the degree to which a person is already known and familiar- further increases one’s likelihood of being perceived as “white” Black Brazilian’s access to education is more constrained than that afforded to whites. Illiteracy rates twice that in blacks compared to whites in Brazil (thus poverty is more of an issue among black Brazilians that for whites). Should be noted that this belief is similar to the United State’s perception that “whiter is higher status than black”. “South Africa’s discriminatory education practices, in contrast, existed well before the onset of apartheid with the earliest colonization of the territory now known as South Africa”. The Indigenous Knowledge movement represented an ideological stance and effort toward integrating knowledge systems of indigenous groups within education, medicine, business and industry. More recently, education practices in democratic curriculum development has led to the construction of lessons that are culturally relevant to indigenous groups in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.
“de Lange Committee Report on Education in South Africa”: ◦ -give “equality of educational quality” ◦ - aim: identify and document inequalities in order, presumably to correct them. ◦ -government’s response: approved the report, yet stated that freedom of choice in education should be “within the framework of the constitution” ◦ -(historically overlooked response) South African response claimed: every racial population should have its own schools and school authorities and departments. “There is no place for [black South Africans] in the European community above the level of certain forms of labor… For that reason it is of no avail for him to receive training which has its aims absorption in the European community while he cannot and will not be absorbed there.” (cited in Nkabinde, 1997, p. 7).
Divisions of labor along gender lines tend to disadvantage females as is well documented cross-culturally. this effects education participation of women and girls in both South Africa and Brazil. Domestic norms and gender norms discourage women from advancing their educations. Inequality crosses income and rural/ urban boundaries. Poverty decreases the amount of time men are available to contribute to family work. “In Brazil, men may be threatened by women’s participation in education on the grounds that the country’s women could eclipse them in productivity or social status (Rockhill, 1987).” Classrooms in Brazil and South Africa reinforce sex roles through depictions in textbooks and teacher’s treatment of students. Stereo types of males as income providers, reduces male participation in education because of the possibility of high rates of unemployment in this field.
Kubow & Fossum use 4 main criteria to evaluate Quality EducationEducation quality as:4.Exceptionality (Excellence)5.Consistency (Equality)6.Fitness for Purpose (Refinement and Perfection)7.Transformative Potential (Social or Personal Change)There are two sets of conflicting values of Quality Education10.Transformative Potential vs. Fitness for Purpose11.Exceptionality vs. Consistency Kubow & Fossum, pp 147-149
Transformative Potential is “schooling that propels change and enablesmovement toward different futures seen as desirable” (p. 147) Promotes social mobility of all classes Does not necessarily educate students for current societal workplace needs Both Brazil and South Africa have made recent political policies to supporta more Transformative educationFitness for Purpose means “schooling that refines participants ability intargeted roles” (p. 147) Promotes vocational specialization At odds with goals of social mobility Similar ideals to Human Capital Theory Both the Brazil and South African educational systems have beentraditionally geared towards Fitness for Purpose education
Exceptionality means “different from the rest” Consistency implies emphasis on equality Asociety that strives to be just and equitable should put focus on factorswhose control is with in reach.The effort to bring equality to the various racial groups and alleviate theurban/rural inequalities may not have not be in reach. The attempt toredistribute allocations to South Africa’s schools and bring equality ofteachers simply brought a forced relocation effort was instead seen asauthoritarian and politically unpalatable. This resulted in the mostexperienced teachers taking “buyouts” rather than relocating, thissubsequently caused a reduction in staff in a time when an increase wasneeded.In contrast Brazilian education focuses on equality such as compulsoryschooling for 7-14 years olds and inclusion of students with learningdisabilities. Yet population displacement and income disparities persist andinequitable educational experiences contribute to the disparity.
Distributing education in an equitable manner has proven difficult in ways that respond to all democratic values. Policy goals that might be unassailable at moral levels are difficult to operationalize to the satisfaction of all sectors of society. Affirmative action in the United States for example is incremental and pragmatic in nature whose critics embody a prima facie breach of equality that cannot be justified through short-term suspensions of equality in the form of hiring quotas, incentives and so forth. South Africa in contrast is in favor of stepwise progress associated with the conservative view. Yet South Africa’s blacks idealism is parallel to the affirmative action opponents in the US on the grounds it is all or nothing. In South Africa, apartheid policies require instruction in the students’ mother tongue; the black African population tends to see knowledge of English more desirable.
South Africa’s 1981 de Lange Commission ultimately noted that “the reduction and elimination of demonstrable inequality in the provision of education available to members of different population groups” The effects of the various “empirically determinable indicators” remain difficult to pinpoint and can effect student performance yet the de Lange Report maintained failure to equalize input and material support is inexcusable. No matter how complicated the exact relationships between educational inputs and outcomes might be evidence exists and contributes to educational effectiveness. Willingness by proponents of accountability movement seems arguably to reflect at least some contempt for the democratic principle of equality.
Is it possible to structure an equal educational experiences for all peoplewhen the societal and economic imperatives seem to dictate differentiation? ◦Equal vs. IndividualizationFor work to be deemed high status first society must perceive the work to be specialized (Bell,1973: Ornstein, 2003).The Academic and vocational debate has contributed to disagreements in both developed anddeveloping capitalist countries (Fossum, 2007). ◦How can education foster Social Progress? ◦What curriculum is best suited to compete in a global economy?South Africa’s educational proposals focus on helping to move black unskilled laborers into theskilled labor pool ◦Favors vocationalism as a way towards moving the black population to a more widespread participation in higher education and eventually in the professional sector (Fossum,2007).
The school-to-work debate in the United StatesBegan in the 1980’s to tailor education to meet the needs of industries ◦Opponents of Vocational Education believe that it will keep individuals from perusing higher education. Targeted economically disadvantaged or minority students.School-to-Work Opportunities Act (1994), provided work based learning opportunities for allstudents while not targeting the disadvantaged and minority students. Click on photo to view C-Span Coverage
Harvey Framework ◦Suggest that it’s misguided to assume that standards can in and of themselves resolve debates about the purpose and direction of schools (Fossum, 2007). ◦Different societies relflect different solutions to the multiple and contradictory purposes of formal education (Fossum, 2007). The debate around these issues reflect these tensions (Fossum, 2007). ◦Standards are based on different ideas of quality Universal attainment of acceptable minimums Identifying and distinguishing achievement The need for educational consistency and exceptionality are forcing the need for a resolution to the debate (Fossum, 2007). ◦Consistency move the direction towards equalization of education.
•BothBrazil and South Africa are “among the most unequal in the world inregards to income and social opportunities (Fossum, 2007).•Distributions of education are a major issue in both South Africa and Brazil.•BothBrazil and South Africa have meeting basic needs make formaleducation a challenge.•The debate regarding academic versus vocational education contributes todisagreements in both developed and developing capitalist countries(Fossum,2007)•Quality and Standards will look different depending on the society that hasset the policies.
Kubow, P. K., & Fossum, P. R. (2007). Comparative Education: Exploring issues in international context, 2nd Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.