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Educators

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall1

This song comes from the rock opera ‘The Wall’, and is likely one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s. It was Pink Floyd’s only number one hit. The song was, after a while, banned in South Africa (as was the album The Wall) due to the song being adopted by supporters of a nationwide school boycott protesting racial inequities in education under the apartheid regime.2

As it happens, the song is indeed a protest. Pink, the central character in the opera, lives in a world of mental detachment, brought about by a ‘wall’ he perceives to be around him. In the song, he continues to speak out against the cruel teachers of his childhood, whom he blames for contributing more bricks to that wall.3

The thing is, of course we need education. It is the country’s top priority, almost. After all: Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.4

The Employment of Educators Act 19985 concerns just that and also regulates their conditions of service (at least, for State employees) as well as their discipline, retirement and discharge. The Act falls under the authority of the Minister of Basic Education. Schedule 2 to the Act constitutes the Disciplinary Code for Education, and provides for enquiries and hearings in the case of misconduct.

Disciplinary hearings

  1. If you are summoned as a witness to a disciplinary hearing, it is a crime not to attend. It is also a crime not to remain in attendance until excused by the chairperson.6

  2. It is also an offence if, at the hearing, you:

    • refuse to be sworn in, or to take an oath of affirmation;7
    • fail to answer questions fully and satisfactorily;8 and
    • fail to produce any required book or document.9
  1. ‘Another Brick in the Wall Part II’, written by Roger Waters and performed by Pink Floyd. 

  2. Wikipedia - ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_Brick_in_the_Wall, citing The New York Times of 15 July 1980 as its source. It was too late; every university student in the country probably had a recording by then. 

  3. If you don’t believe me, see www.thewallanalysis.com for an in-depth discussion of the opera. 

  4. Nelson Mandela’s famous quote. 

  5. As amended; the latest amendment was effected by Act 16 of 2011. 

  6. Section 34(a). 

  7. Section 34(b). 

  8. Section 34(c)i. 

  9. Section 34(c)ii.