Die erkenning van minderheidsgroepe, hulle ideale en hulle onderwysstrewe: Is daar ’n ander manier?
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The history of most countries, including those regarded as relatively culturally homogeneous, has demonstrated that practically all of them are composed of minority groups and that many of these groups struggle for survival. "Cultural" groups, such as age, interest, socio-economic and gender groups, provide their own quota of problems for educational planners, but are not as politically encumbered as others, such as ethnic and religious groups. In a social democracy as in South Africa where the rule of law reigns supreme, the interest and future existence of minority groups are often overlooked by the majority. In some cases, their cultural and linguistic needs and interests are symbolically entrenched in the Constitution, but these measures are often nullified, for instance through Constitutional Court decisions. Such actions on the part of the powers that be explain why minority groups in South Africa and elsewhere are displeased with the ways in which they are being hampered in their efforts to develop their unique identities. Tensions of this nature are clearly observable in South Africa and elsewhere. The recent referendum in Scotland, the tensions in Catalonia and the treatment of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, at the hands of South African authorities attest to the topicality of the problem. On the one hand, we have the various minority groups with a number of legitimate claims, among others for a measure of independence and self-assertion, grounded in a unique interpretation of social justice and in an appeal to the Constitution of the country. On the other hand, they form part of a larger community structure in which equality and non-discrimination reign as supreme national values. The national government, as representative of the larger community, also appeals to social justice, as embodied in the Constitution. The end result is a conflict of opinions and ideals, each based on an interpretation of social justice. The onus to find a solution for the resolution of the tension lies with the various minority groups, and not with the government as representative of the majority. In fact, many governments find the constant complaints of minority groups rather irritating. The irritation is intensified where a minority group is able to provide in its own needs, and hence can refuse to align itself with the general value system of the majority community. The question therefore arises: What can minority communities do in these circumstances? How can they take charge of their own interests, needs and future existence?
- Faculty of Education