GLP/Princeton Intern Program
GLP is currently piloting a summer internship program in conjunction with Princeton University. The Princeton Office of International Programs (OIP), seeks to give Princeton students “firsthand encounters with the peoples, cultures, and contemporary concerns of other regions of the world.”
These students will join with our other volunteers working in the rural areas of Randfontein, South Africa. There they are placed in either legacy farm schools or township schools. These are schools with many enthusiastic students but which also struggle with significant resource shortages as well as staff shortages and/or skill deficits.
Many rural schools in South Africa, especially the “farm schools” have long legacies of underachievement. This history of poverty and dependence was first established by the Bantu Education Act, which provided for a range of subsidies to compensate farmers for the costs of accommodating a school on their lands, and a policy framework intended to facilitate the sharing of responsibility for the school between the state and the farmer. State subsidies covered half the cost of buildings and provision of utilities and paid the teachers. The farmer provided the land, half the building costs and either managed the school himself or nominated someone else to do so.
This arrangement benefited both state and farm owner. It extended the state’s control over the African population, providing for a more complete penetration of apartheid ideology by ensuring that the limited Bantu education curriculum was taught in even the most remote rural areas. Few farmers had any interest in seeing that their schools provided anything more than the most basic facilities–basically the farmers saw farm schools as a way of extending their control over a half-educated labor supply, rather than providing farm laborers’ children with marketable technical skills.
FARM SCHOOLS SINCE 1994
Despite significant legislative and policy reform throughout the education sector since 1996, a 2004 Human Rights Watch Report on South African farm schools asserted, that:
The South African government is failing to protect the right to a primary
education for children living on commercial farms by neither ensuring their
access to farm schools nor maintaining the adequacy of learning conditions
at these schools . . .
(Human Rights Watch, Forgotten Schools: the Right to Basic Education for Children on Farms in
South Africa (2004) 1.)
Things are changing for the better in these schools but it is a slow process. Our university volunteers therefore bring with them a lot of potential as well as fresh eyes to these classrooms.
- Erica Clarke
Erica plans to pursue a law degree then practice a career in civil rights law or human rights advocacy. In her own words, “These careers will allow me to give voice to people who need it most, representing the most marginalized communities in cases that threaten the basic rights that should be afforded to every human being. An old proverb states that, ‘with great privilege comes great responsibility’ and that responsibility of extending a hand to our fellow man rests with all those afforded the most basic commodities, which for some are luxuries.” Working with The Global Literacy Project this summer will be her first international experience.
- Connor Diemand-Yauman
Connor Diemand-Yauman is a Princeton senior as well as being president of the Undergraduate Student Government. His major is in Psychology and home is in Chesterland, Ohio. Connor served as 2010 Class President for two and a half years before assuming his current role as University Student Government President.