Andile Mngxitama, Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MP holds an MA in sociology from Wits and has published the first four essays in the New Frank Talk series, a journal of critical essays. Mngxitama is also a columnist for the Sowetan and City Press
What do you think of the current education crisis tertiary institutions are facing?
Here when students say ‘we want free education’, which is a fundamental right, what comes is violence from the police, arrests and intimidation. It shows that this state is anti-black, and totally incapable of listening to the needs of black people, it reproduces the apartheid logic. We should be paying students to keep them at university.
How do you suggest the situation be resolved?
In Bolivia, they pay poor families in rural areas to keep their children in school. that’s what we should be doing.
We should be grateful that our students – after 12 years of kak education – somehow qualify to go to an institution of higher learning. They should be rewarded, not punished.
How did we get to this situation?
In South Africa to get a matric exemption, it’s like we celebrate. In white society, a child is born, they will end in university and it’s not a mystery – it’s a given, but for us, because we have to overcome so many hurdles to actually get a matric exemption or to get university entrance, it’s a huge thing. It is achieving a lot against massive odds and then you get punished in the end.
What are the EFF’s plans to combat the education crisis?
The problem is that the 12 years students spend at school in South Africa, black public schools, are f**cked, it doesn’t prepare them for anything.
So what you do is you bring all the Zimbabweans with O – levels into SA schools and make all our teachers write the basic test – they will fail.
Zimbabwe must become our center for educating. Those teachers who fail have two options, they can get a package and go home or they can get reeducated and we send them to Zimbabwe. Let’s not create a difficult life for ourselves, bring all the Zimbabweans and spread them in rural schools…You just give them a two weeks crash course on methodology.
“The Mngxitama ABCs to solve the education crisis.”
Our teachers are underprepared, uneducated, untrained, unmotivated and they can’t do their basic job, but if we inject this new process then I think that within five years we can get back lot of South Africans into the system who are able to teach. We must build schools also and put real money into those things.
At a university level, not a single student must apply for a bursary. As a student you literally walk up to your university and if you qualify they should take you.
And they can say beforehand that Wits is a pro-poor school therefore we will take sixty percent of all new intakes from bursary students, so I already know what is my bill which I then present to government, to say these are the number of needy students that we have taken. They must make the registration illegal, that thing is evil, once you’re in you must be in until you finish.