A Canadian flag. Picture: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE
A Canadian flag. Picture: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE

In his letter, Derek Abrahams cited Canada as the sole example in Western countries of quality basic education provided to all citizens (“Canada sets standard”, November 27).

On the contrary, the Canadian government states on its website that citizens are given the choice of free public schools, paid private schools and home schooling, in English or French. In most advanced countries provision is made for the fact that human beings vary in talent, intelligence and many other ways.

The universe is made up of frequency distribution curves showing that in any sphere there are wide ranges of ability and potential. This is no different in analysing human performance. The “equality” notion is attractive to those who want everyone brought down to the lowest common denominator to avoid the truth. The lowering of the matric pass level to 30% is a prime example of this fanciful, “politically correct” idea.

SA needs the best talent available. Because most of this must statistically come from talented African children, why deprive that group of appropriate education, insisting on large classrooms across the spectrum? Potential dropouts need special help, just as the gifted, and the country can benefit from some streaming.

Ironically, Abrahams holds up SA’s dysfunctional schools and states that education has gone backward “in almost every international test”. May I suggest that if teachers had been drawn from gifted scholars who had enjoyed a standard of education appropriate to their potential, we might have avoided the calamity he decries.

Gavin Barnett
Somerset West