The new Social Inclusion policy framework for Post school education seek to eliminate discrimination of all forms
On the 21st of August 2014, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande gazetted an important draft policy framework on Social inclusion in our post-school higher education and training landscape. This policy framework is gazetted for public comments so that inputs and contributions can be considered and consolidated before it goes to Cabinet for approval towards being a law.
But what does this Social inclusion policy framework seek to achieve?
This policy framework bestows a valued recognition to individuals and groups, affirming them as equals amongst equals in Higher education from their status as disabled, as women, as blacks, as HIV/Aids sufferers and any other form with which people get discriminated against. We want to foster the full potential of any student, a worker and an academic in all public Post-school education and training institutions.
Institutions of higher learning have an unavoidable mandate to give practical content on our progressive democratic laws within themselves and to society as a whole. They must be catalysts in deepening and advancing human rights values such as promoting non-racialism, gender parity in their own hierarchy so that they disgorge the same to student population, they must create all mechanism and a conducive environment for the disabled students and professional staff. For the disabled, it means having special pathways for those in wheel-chairs, having reading and writing instruments for the blind.
The Department of Higher Education and Training, since its establishment as stand-alone Department in 2009, building from the advances made since 1994, has prioritized transformation of the Post-school education and training (PSET)system. The green and white paper on PSET articulates this in details. We want to redress all these vexing questions such as race, gender ,class and disability as they find articulation in all facets within the education and training terrain. In his budget vote in July 2014, the Minister of Higher Education asserted that “ There will be no room for ethnic chauvinism in the post-school education and training system. The intention of this policy framework is to ensure that educational institutions recognize and promote integration, a culture of human rights, unity in diversity, as well as human dignity. This, however, cannot be achieved without the commitment of individual South Africans and relevant civil society organisations to the values of a non-racial society and an inclusive Post-school education and training system”. This policy framework seeks to address these factors.
Graphical pictures in our memories are still fresh of the despicable act of racism by University of Free State students who fed black African women workers urine. Students who did not want to share residences with their fellow black students.The expose’ on North West University indoctrinating young white students as an induction, to Hitler style of racial militarism akin to AWB racial absolutism.The most recent one being the University of Pretoria students caricature of black domestic workers by blackening their face and acting in a condescending racist way. All of this underline one thing: that racism is still being reproduced at the back of the laws that outlaws it. Lobby groups such as Afriforum remains expressly as institutional citadels, a jungle for refugee,that gives moral sanctity to this racial resilience, this includes their lopsided campaign for the preservation of Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction in NWU.
We sought to have a Post- School education and training (PSET) system that is a fountain of modern values, the one that promotes integration in diversity and the one that is a melting pot with which all forms of discrimination dissolve. Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) must be a mirror through which an envisioned non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society can be discerned. Through their practical possibility, they must be an oasis of these ideals in practice and therefore be a pond for the nation and society to fish from in widening these. And so, leaders of our higher institutions of learning and training cannot escape this national imperative,administrators and Councils must lead from the front to inspire and steer Universities and College communities, in their differentiated form towards these ends without fail.
As part of this, the policy has compiled important historic dates of our calendar as should be commemorated and observed such as Human rights day, Freedom day,Youth day, Women day, Heritage day and reconciliation day. These dates are important to be inculcated in the very bosom of minds of our students driven by institutions of higher learning. It is these measures and many more, that, we can build social cohesion and integration.
Khaye Nkwanyana Media Liaison Officer for the Minister of Higher Education and Training and the department.