Forced school intervention for FET pupils in high schools

Being a Grade 12 learner is already hard on its own, the pressure of getting into varsity and securing your future, it’s too much! And that’s not all; the model of the education system just doesn’t suit everyone; the standardized way of assessments doesn’t work for every individual. Yes, individual, we are all different from each other in a lot of aspects, qualities, mindsets and everything else you can think of.

All though there’s pretty much nothing that a learner can do to change the nature of the education system that’s unfair and unjust, schools aren’t making it better for learners.

While chasing 100% pass rates, learners get bombarded with homework, each subject with its demands and each teacher with their expectations, learners get forced to attend morning( 7 am) and afternoon(3-5 pm) classes even on weekends. Either being told to study, revise or catch up with the syllabus. Learners are somehow expected to still be able to go home and perform their chores, do homework and back to the morning class the following day.

Teachers do this hoping to help the learners to better the marks or to keep up the good name of the school or maybe to better the school in general, but in doing so they forget that learners are different, they learn differently, flourish in different environments and understand better under different conditions. Again INDIVIDUALS. This system might be helping others, but then it still makes others suffer. I wish there was a choice for these learners to choose what they want. They can make their own decisions, and their future lies in their hands. Teachers can’t force them to study or pass if they are not willing.

In Sepedi, they say “kgomo go tsoswa e itsosago.” And this means you can only help a person who puts some effort and shows some initiative that they want to be assisted and not to force it upon people. I’ve interviewed a few students from three different schools in which this tradition of making leaners remain behind for intervention is practiced. The sample of which is both public and model-c schools. They don’t like the practice at all says one of the leaners I’ve interviewed. Some of these pupils complain about how much they’re already exhausted by the time they have to do the intervention.

They say that they don’t have a choice of leaving; teachers force them to remain behind and study because they think it’s good for them.

Some learners say that it is messing up with their study methods and study time tables because after intervention when they get home they are already tired and even on that intervention it’s not like they always productive, they say it’s only 2 out of a ten where you become productive in class. Some learners say they even attend on Sundays they can’t even go to church, and the response they get when they complain about it to their principal is generally that, “… there is no church for matric students you have to study.” It was quite a heated issue with the leaners when I asked them why don’t they ask their parents to intervene? The learners responded and said that most parents agree with this idea because they believe that the school’s principal knows what’s best and we all know majority rules. The question is what about the minority that is not benefiting? Why should they suffer? Why can’t they choose? What are your views on the general approach as a way of doing things?

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5 thoughts on “Forced school intervention for FET pupils in high schools

  1. Very thought provoking to think that I also went through this but only realise now that this article has put it like this. As much as educators want the best for these students knowing where to draw the line would really be necessary. We also see the pressure while these students await results others even attempt to take their lives because they have worked so hard yet have nothing to show for it.

    Thanks Natalie. Well done on your achievement with this article

  2. Calling a spade as it is, I hear you and this is a sensitive issue. My question is, “what can be done?” Yes intervention might not work for everyone, and it might not always be effective. So what can be done?

    We need to have a solutions based approach, otherwise we will be going around in circles stating each other’s flaws.

    1. Well I think learners should be given a chance to choose what they want. I feel like FET learners in high school are old enough to make their own decisions specifically matrics. Remember I mentioned that this practice may be useful and effective to others but it may not be useful to others.

      The schools should not make intervention compulsory for everyone. They can give learners who think it’s not effective for them an ultimatum of achieving a pass if they don’t want to attend then if a leaner can’t make it on its own then that’s when they can force him/her to attend.

  3. As a Learner who is currently in grade 12 , I’m highly affected by this general approach . This is because it doesn’t compliment with my study method, and I know for sure they are many Learners who are also affected.

    Thanks Natalia for this article I wish it could reach the eyes of the SMT in all different schools. I believe they should be a change in the way that school approach this idea of intervention class to benefit all ,in achieving academic excellence.

  4. I am a teacher myself and I concur with what you are stating here Natalia, by the time we intervene most of these learners are so tired, hungry and not interested in the lessons.

    We as teachers make it worse, we adopt the same approach of chalk and talk and I think that’s what bores the learners, even worse if the learners remain behind and we don’t do work with them.

    I am no a fan of intervention classes honestly.
    Schools need to rather expand the horizons on what it’s offered at the school, and learners must explore their talents.

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