Naledi Pandor and the ANC’s Pledge of Allegiance … to Indoctrination

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Mefiante (February 13, 2008, 10:14:46 AM):
Last night’s news bulletin carried an item concerning the publication of a “Pledge of Allegiance” by SA education minister Naledi Pandor. If the government gets its way, the pledge will be recited daily by schoolchildren. Once gazetted, the public will have 30 days to comment on whether the pledge should be adopted. Pandor expressed confidence that resistance to the pledge’s acceptance would be minimal.

Unlike Thabo Mbeki and Naledi Pandor, however, Dr 'Luthon64 and I have absolutely no desire to see our daughter brainwashed and bamboozled by a history, a string of words and concepts she cannot possibly yet understand. Nor can she be expected to exercise any informed choice over whether she wishes to subscribe to these values. While probably few would find the sentiments expressed in the pledge objectionable, such a daily recital as mooted would be of the same essential kind as the abuses inflicted on children’s intellect by sunday schools and churches: it enforces an impression that the ideas expressed in the pledge are unassailable and thereby hobbles critical thought and the ability to choose in that context.

We have resolved to oppose this unconscionable assault on our child’s mind at every turn.

Instead, we offer a much simpler pledge as an alternative, to be recited once at the start of each new term:
Quote from: Not Naledi Pandor
“I, as a sovereign individual, recognise the importance of being inquisitive and to question. I pledge to detect and resist faulty reasoning wherever I may find it, and I will stand up for every person’s right and duty to find out for themselves.”

ETA: Here’s an IOL poll where the interested reader can vote on the issue.

Wandapec (February 18, 2008, 12:40:31 PM):
You have my full support!
Mefiante (February 18, 2008, 13:19:58 PM):
Thank you, it’s appreciated. :)

I harbour a dark suspicion that the period during which the public has the right to respond will be broadcast neither very loudly nor very often, and consequently that this pledge will more or less be sprung on school-goers and their parents as a fait accompli.

However, I hope that I am wrong.

johanvz (February 24, 2008, 23:03:02 PM):

Here is the link containing Naledi Pandor's response to some criticisms on this pledge.

Quote from: Naledi Pandor
If the concept of the pledge is not intrinsically flawed - which it is not - then how should we go about constructing it?

Now, I do believe the concept is flawed for the same reasons as stated by Anacoluthon64. However, it seems that we are getting a pledge and the only thing that is up for debate is the content of the pledge.

Quote from: Naledi Pandor
Finally, Madam Speaker, allow me to refer briefly to the bill of responsibilities that we have drafted along with the National Religious Leaders Forum.

A major step forward would be to get religion out of schools and government. But, I guess that won't happen soon. So if you are interested in reading what they concocted have a look here.

Mefiante (February 25, 2008, 10:23:07 AM):
Thanks for those links, johanvz.

Quote from: Naledi Pandor on “National Schools Pledge”, SA Govt Info
Once the public comment phase has ended, we will consider the proposals and provide then a schools pledge to all schools.
In other words, Minister, it’s a foregone conclusion that your pledge will be instituted in one form or another and it’s only the wording that needs deciding? That’s a fine way of espousing and promoting democratic principles: we’ll do this pledge anyway because the people are too ill-informed to decide correctly but we’ll throw them a little bone in the form of input on the wording.

Moreover, all of that fancy verbal footwork deployed in defending the pledge misses the crux of the issue, namely that it is not the function of a pledge to educate. By all means, teach the injustices of the past in history class, even if this needs to be made a compulsory part of the curriculum. In contrast, the pledge will inevitably lose force and meaning through daily repetition and produce mostly good, obedient little robots. It is hardly like singing the national anthem because the latter is reserved for special occasions rather than done daily. Loyalty cannot be petitioned with such a mindless device. It is akin to “teaching” children mathematics by having them learn the multiplication tables by rote and leaving out the bit about the principles of multiplication. Rather, loyalty comes, if it does, through an understanding of the broader objectives.

Finally, as hypocritical and contradictory as it may sound, SA’s Constitution guarantees each individual the freedom to choose allegiances and associations, and this freedom must include the right to reject the very values the pledge seeks to uphold. While one would hope that such rejection is rare to non-existent, the pledge, through brainwashing, effectively diminishes the young individual’s later ability to choose by exerting even more peer pressure than society already does on him or her to “go along to get along.” In short, the pledge is a good way to discourage, if not destroy, individualism.

And we will continue to reject it forcefully.



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