Thursday, September 20, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 1998-1999, NZ Article, Natal Letters and SLD Teaching

< 1998. Esslemonster's Bath Time, Oaklands Christchurch.

On 14/11/1998 The Press wrote: "Unemployment rates of up to 100 percent amongst some Christchurch refugee groups is frightful but not unexpected. Support organizations have been warning for years that prospects are bleak for refugees, and NZ has a depressing record of messing up its handling of migrants.

Unlike other wealthy nations that accept migrants, NZ is casual and inadequate in what it does to help migrants fit in. Australia provides two years of language training... Here the process is almost wholly left to voluntary groups, which are worked to the bone in the process."

Forced language competence wasn't essential for jobs. In African multi -lingual countries, thousands of African illiterates worked for employers, with employers being clueless about native languages, and natives being clueless about employers' languages. Interpreters were legion. Will of NZ employers to create well paid jobs was essential. Shipley's National government media campaign encouraged dobbing-in of dole fraudsters, when "fraud" was usually benefit overpayment by lickspittles in National government departments. As it was impossible to live decently on the dole, taxpayers' money could've been better spent creating permanent well paid jobs.

After my letters to Fraser were returned to NZ, Fraser's lawyer wrote that Town Hill Hospital had transferred Fraser to Sunnyside Farm, Bulwer after Fraser had been a Town Hill inmate for nine years. Town Hill had helped Fraser physically, but hadn't rehabilitated Fraser, which was Addington Hospital's reason for certifying Fraser to Town Hill in the first place. Town Hill's superintendent still didn't write to me, but had decertified Fraser and transferred him to Sunnyside without my knowledge or consent a year before. Fraser wrote: "Sunnyside's climate is harsh." Survivor Fraser did gardening, and enjoyed unauthorized Berg hikes. Unemployable Fraser had to pay Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society for his Sunnyside board and lodging, which came from his lawyer-invested estate.

In January 1999, old Durban North friend Charlie wrote this about SA and London, where he worked: "UK papers are full of job adverts. There're many SA temps in London (more than before) trying to find employment, as opposed to holiday touring. There're no job adverts in SA papers we read. Everyone we speak to moans about jobs. An acquaintance was ousted from her manager job in 'Maritzburg. She was then offered a deputy job at R3000 less than her previous pay...

In Durban North, my sister lets her daughters walk to Broadway shops by themselves, which she didn't allow in 1996 when we visited them...

My sister-in-law, vice-principal, advises: 'Whites want to leave SA, myself included. Affirmative-action is serious - only blacks get jobs. Standards continue to drop. White teachers do all the work, carrying black colleagues. Our daughter will emigrate next month, as she won't get employment. My brother, varsity lecturer, is concerned about dropping standards. The Education Department is bankrupt, so teachers fear pension losses. Money is wasted. Salary increases - nil - below inflation. No sign of improvement.'"

Seabrook McKenzie Centre referred psychologically tested SLD students to Leah, who remediated primary and intermediate students' learning disabilities, using her SA and London expertise and recent NZQA ratified SLD diploma, to remediate NZ students' Specific Learning Disabilities, which NZ mainstream primary and high school teachers were unable to cope with, or were untrained to remediate. (Only in 2007 was dyslexia belatedly acknowledged by NZ Education Minister as a learning disability).

Leah soon became an expert SLD teacher, with two SLD diplomas, ratified by NZQA. Leah lectured and mentored experienced Kiwi teachers and tertiary students. She advised and consulted with parents, experts and interested people. Yet bureaucrats had stopped Leah teaching year one in NZ schools.

Leah tutored at Seabrook McKenzie Centre, at home and at various schools. I wrote to the alcoholic headmaster of the school where Leah mostly worked, complaining about Leah's low pay. He offered Leah more teacher-aide hours, missing the fact that many teacher-aides were unqualified class-helpers. Leah was a qualified and internationally experienced teacher, providing professional service as a teacher-aide. The school used her expertise, but didn't supplement her teacher-aide pay with an allowance recognizing her specialist skills. When I asked the BOT chairman about an allowance for Leah, he glared at me like I was mad.

The Ministry of Education (School Support Limited) marginally increased Leah's hourly teacher-aide pay. Leah resigned as teacher -aide, and did better-paid SLD tutoring, which she enjoyed. By offering low hourly pay, the headmaster lost Leah. Yet his school BOT was applying for state-funding for a new school hall. When the penny dropped, the headmaster ensured Leah got full teacher registration. Despite all this, the dole supplemented Leah's tutor pay.

Luke planted an acorn in our Oaklands garden, and the young oak grew tall and strong in Canterbury dry summers. Jake attended Hillmorton High school with Pacific Islander, Maori, Pakeha, Asian and overseas pupils.

Leah's dad died of strokes in Durban. We mourned, but Leah couldn't fly to the funeral, as we couldn't afford airfares. Some of Leah's Auckland expat friends attended. Their sons had grown into men in NZ. On their arrival in Jan Smuts, the public address announced, "You can use any taxis. They're all safe." They reported that after several years' absence, the cost of living and white beggars in Durban had increased.

Gillie was carjacked in Durban. Gillie fought and stabbed a Zulu carjacker, while another drove Gillie's white VW beetle, then stopped, and ran away.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

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