20 August 2012

Education, and children

Lets start with a bit of background. In South Africa among especially Afrikaans people, religion has become entrenched and mixed up with culture. It is assumed, expected and accepted that you are church going. If not church going, you are a Christian in some way, or refer to yourself as Christian. Probably a little bit like the US Bible Belt.

In schools it is accepted that you don't mind bible stories and christian songs being taught to your children. That there will always be some reference to Christianity in all things, and no parent will mind it. Prayer in school is okay, and children can really be ostracized if they do not take part.

If you're not a christian it is assumed you are a satanist, or somehow evil. Atheist is a swear word.

I posted about my inner turmoil when I had to fill in the school's application form here

At the beginning of the school year I went to the teacher and told her in no uncertain terms that we are not religious and don't want Caitlin to be exposed to any Indoctrination.

The problem with that is the Christian inability to recognise their own indoctrination. They can not differentiate between what is educational and what is indoctrinating, because they can not recognise their own indoctrination from a young age.

So this brings me to two disturbing things, and my frustration around them

Two nights ago we had the Grade R concert, and our kids were lovely. They danced and sang to a ton of really funky Afrikaans pop music, and it was adorable. But then the second last song was religious and I felt sick. Was it really necessary to put that in there?

I'd like to complain but I know I would be seen as petty. This is the huge problem I have with the Afrikaans culture. I should not have to constantly be undoing damage done by her EDUCATORS. It's enough that I have to be constantly vigilant to damage done by her peers.

I wanted to change her to an English class for next year, but was told they prefer children to receive teaching in their mother tongue, and wouldn't believe me when I said we are bilingual. They then claimed the English classes for next year are full.

So what is a parent to do. I am getting really frustrated with this constant battle. Just when I think my wishes are being met, our laws regarding religions in school are pushed to the utmost boundaries, and I have to clean up the damage to ensure my child grows up a free thinker. Yes, this is turning me anti-religious, which I haven't really been before having a child.

Update: a Friends gave me some good advice on this here 

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