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Long-term effects of xenophobiago further than burning shops

SA is dismissing foreign teachers because we’d rather our children suffer than have non-locals teach them

The thing about xenophobia is that it creeps up on you. Fiery attacks on the shops of Somalians or Pakistanis are relatively easy to deal with: you see the blind rage, the property goes up in flames and the haters feel they have dealt with the problem. That creeping hatred is much more insidious in education institutions because it works by stealth and explains its madness using the logic of compliance. We are simply doing what the government requires us to do, according to one or other employment equity regulation. Behind that mask of dutiful pretence on the part of schools and universities lies a dangerous resentment and combustible contempt for foreigners.

Let’s begin with the provinces that terminated the contracts of foreign teachers because they lacked permanent resident permits. Temporary teachers in critical subjects such as mathematics and physical science are on their way out. Ponder this: why would a country with the worst results in numeracy and literacy at the bottom end of the school system and equally poor results in mathematics and science at the other end jettison skilled maths and science teachers from the schools that need them most?..

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