Source : Tuisonderwys Mailing List


Asmal’s assault on the constitution

Media statement by the Pestalozzi Trust legal defence fund for home education – 16 Sep 2001

“Professor Kader Asmal is getting the trains of education to run on schedule at last. For that we are truly grateful. But Mussolini, too, was lauded for getting Italy’s trains to run on time. We are deeply concerned that, like Mussolini’s fanatical Fascist policies, this new curriculum reflects an oppressive and undemocratic side to the improvements in education.”

So said Leendert van Oostrum, chairman of the Pestalozzi Trust on Saturday, speaking also on behalf of the Association for Home Schooling and the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Homeschooling Associations

Home schoolers and other educators have been studying and debating the proposed National Curriculum Statement intensively since it was released on 30th July. Several specialist opinions have been appearing on the web site http://pestalozzi.org/curriculum

“The curriculum promises one thing and contrives to attain the opposite” says Van Oostrum. “It promises freedom but the minister eradicates alternative choices. It promises to teach children “critical thinking” but imposes a philosophical straitjacket on thought. It promises “tolerance” but demonises a wide variety of targets ranging from private enterprise and private conscience to Western institutions, males and minorities. It celebrates diversity by assimilating every vestige of individual, cultural and religious diversity.

“This curriculum preaches democracy, human rights and social justice. As in Orwell’s reality, however, it relentlessly enforces de-individuation of children, subjugation of their conscience to the will of the collective and, ultimately, their willing ‘submission to the ensemble’.

“The teachers who teach this curriculum must be ideologically pure and politically active – states the curriculum in so many words. Explicitly and shamelessly, it confiscates the minds of children for a political battlefield. For, as Mr Asmal says in a speech, the law of tomorrow coagulates from the politics of today.

“Cynically deceptive, the minister’s ‘Manifesto on Values, Education and Democracy’ admits that ‘values cannot be legislated’. Under the camouflage of the flowery prose of this document, however, the curriculum proceeds to do exactly that: It abuses the executive power of the minister to achieve what legislative power may not do. It unlawfully compels children to confess a philosophy of the minister’s making and to adhere to its tenets in their actions.

“Children who demonstrate their submission to the philosophy of this curriculum will receive the state controlled General Education and Training Certificate in Grade 9. Without this certificate, they will be allowed no further education.
“In this way, Mr Asmal’s curriculum hijacks the constitution itself to peddle a selective set of values purported to be the ones on which the constitution rests.

The legal fallacy is this: While parliament may legislate our actions, no organ of state may control our beliefs. This is a central value on which the legitimacy and the survival of the constitution itself rely.

“We call on the minister to respect the rights of children – the only value that the state may impose is abidance by the law. We also call on the statutory watchdogs of our democracy, on the organs of civil society and on every South African to oppose this assault on our constitutional order.

“We are deeply concerned that the philosophical cargo of this curriculum will cultivate a culture of hate such as the hate that does not hesitate to turn an aircraft full of commuters into a weapon of destruction.”
For further information see http://pestalozzi.org/curriculum or call Leendert van Oostrum at 012 330 1337.

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