Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Gavin Barnett’s response to my letter on achieving a quality public education for all refers (“Potential dropouts and the gifted need attention”, November 28).

The issue is not specific to Canada, but because I studied and worked in that educational system I used it as an example of what can be achieved when parents, teachers and authorities truly put learners first. In the most recent round of international Pisa tests, Canada was one of a few countries that climbed into the top 10 for maths, science and reading, while it has the highest percentage (55% vs 35% for the rest of the world) of working-age adults with higher education.

I did not state in my letter that private schools do not exist in Canada. However, it is the quality of public education that supports the results.

Barnett seems to have missed my central argument, which is that I do not accept mediocrity, especially when I as a taxpayer am funding it lavishly. I refuse to believe that public schools (read: certain race groups with our past) inevitably equate to mediocrity. My point was precisely that our public schools should be held to a higher standard to undo the legacies of the racial policies before 1994.

Yes, let those with “special” academic talents, coupled with parents to pay, enjoy private schools. However, my demand for better public schools to the rest remains unchallenged.

Just as I steadfastly refused to believe that to become a Springbok you must attend a former “model C” boys-only school, I refuse to accept that a quality education is the sole preserve of the “rich and/or gifted”.

I do not want to retire to live behind an electric fence to keep the “barbarians” out.

Derek Abrahams
Via e-mail

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