Book Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School

download (1)In the latest installment of the phenomenally bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, author-illustrator Jeff Kinney brings the series back to its roots, as Greg starts a new school year and faces a challenge he never could’ve imagined.The tenth book in the  Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will be simultaneously released in more than 90 countries around the world, including New Zealand, on November 3, 2015. Author/illustrator Jeff Kinney is planning a world tour to promote the book as well.

The new cover was revealed and we know is Black.

The story follows Greg Heffley as he starts a new school year, goes on a week-long field trip and deals with a generation gap between the kids and their chaperones.

Cool Fact:

Jeff Kinney is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and five-time Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favorite Book. Jeff has been named…

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Black Achievement Stats Belie South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Success Story

Prior to 1994 when South Africa abolished apartheid and became a democracy, enrollment rates by race and ethnicity at the nation’s colleges and universities were woefully askew.

Specifically, in 1993, Africans in the country accounted for just 40 percent of all college students, even though they represented 77 percent of the population. White South Africans, on the other hand, accounted for 48 percent of all college students, even though they comprised just 11 percent of the population.

In contrast, by 2011, Black students represented about 81 percent of South Africa’s postsecondary student population of 938,200 — a number nearly double the 473,000 that it was in 1993, according to figures obtained by Diverse.

But even though overall Black enrollment in South Africa’s colleges and universities is up since the days of apartheid, one leading scholar says the raw numbers mask a series of other disparities that plague the nation’s institutions of higher learning.

Those disparities include high attrition rates for Black students, and underrepresentation in the STEM fields and business and commerce, according to Saleem Badat, vice-chancellor of Rhodes University in Grahamstown and a scholar who has written extensively about issues of access, diversity and success in higher education in South Africa.

Participation rates for Blacks in South Africa have remained stagnant over the past two decades. Badat notes that whereas participation rates for Africans and Coloureds stood at 9 and 13 percent, respectively, in 1993, as recently as 2007, they stood at 12 percent for each group.

The participation rate for Whites and Indians, on the other hand, stood at 40 and 70 percent, respectively, in 1993. Fourteen years later, those rates were 43 and 54 percent, respectively. Badat says the reason that participation rates for Blacks in South Africa have remained stagnant is not solely because of the nation’s legacy of apartheid.

“While the apartheid legacy continues to weigh heavily on contemporary higher education, South Africa’s higher education problems and shortcomings are not rooted entirely in the apartheid past,” Badat said in a paper he wrote about South Africa’s 20th anniversary as a democracy for a February seminar at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where later this year he is set to become the foundation’s first program director for international higher education and strategic projects.

“Both in higher education and more generally, the state and key actors appear to lack the will to act courageously and decisively at the levels of policy, personnel, and performance when it is clear that problems remain intractably entrenched,” Badat wrote.


Government efforts

It’s not as if the South African government is completely oblivious to its higher education issues.

For instance, in a 2014 White Paper issued by the Department of Higher Education and Training, the department states its commitment to “progressively” introduce free education for the poor at South African universities “as resources become available” — the implication being, of course, that presently those resources are not available.

It also speaks of increasing overall participation rates within universities from the current 17.3 percent to 25 percent — or from just over 937,000 students in 2011 to about 1.6 million enrollments in 2030.

Badat says the paper is, like many other South African policy documents, “expansive in vision but extremely short on details.”

South Africa’s National Planning Commission has also acknowledged a number of problems in the nation’s higher education system.

“Many individuals with poor schooling aspire to higher qualifications, but they are academically less prepared than their middle class counterparts,” the plan commission states in its National Development Plan 2030. “Support programs should be offered and funded at all institutions.”

It also talks about how schools at the pre-college level can be “intimidating for many parents of learners.”

“In poor communities in particular, there is an imbalance in power relations,” the paper states. “Parents often feel ill equipped to engage with teachers and school management about the performance of their children and the school as a whole.”

But then there are those real-life human stories that don’t comport neatly with the explanations and analyses of policymakers and experts.

Consider, for instance, the story of 22-year-old Vuyile “Lucky” Sixaba.

Even though Sixaba attended “impoverished township schools that remained deeply disadvantaged from years of apartheid,” Sixaba managed to distinguish himself and won a full scholarship to Rhodes University from the Square Kilometre Array Africa global collaboration, which is part of an international group attempting to build the world’s biggest radio telescope.

“The scholarship really made life easy for me in university,” Sixaba said in an article on the Rhodes University website.

Sixaba graduated from Rhodes University this past April with a bachelor’s of science degree after having completed a triple major in pure math, applied math and mathematical statistics.

One of the reasons the university celebrated his story is because Sixaba’s mother works as a groundskeeper there.

Interestingly, Sixaba’s mother made a bold move out of frustration when she saw him going astray academically as a child; that move ultimately put Sixaba on the road to college.

“It’s only when my mother got sick of being called to school for me making trouble that she told my math teacher that he should beat me if I do something again,” Sixaba said in an email to Diverse.

“After that, I listened in class and worked hard at home with my studies, studied with a friend of mine who always had a ‘mind for school,’” Sixaba explained. “That year [grade 9] I happened to come out top of my class in every subject.”

Sixaba noted that beating students is not legally sanctioned in South Africa.

“I guess it was just for me to be in fear, and it worked, you know,” Sixaba said. “I highlight it as one of the best things that she’s done for me. It really turned me [in] to another person.”


Equalizing access

In South Africa, as per a 1997 Department of Education paper, institutions of higher learning are required to “develop their own race and gender equity goals and plans for achieving them, using indicative targets for distributing publicly subsidised places rather than firm quotas.”

Badat, in an essay he wrote for a 2012 book, Equalizing Access: Affirmative Action in Higher Education in India, United States, and South Africa, noted that many universities in South Africa do not have an admissions policy.

While the issue of affirmative action in South Africa is a “contested” one, according to Badat, Sixaba says he and his fellow college students never discussed issues of admissions or affirmative action.

“I really don’t believe in those ‘special policies for Black people,’” Sixaba said. “I feel like it’s also a way of discriminating against us. Nobody is better than anybody else.

“…In terms of entering higher education, I don’t think anyone should be given an edge over anybody else,” adds Sixaba. “We all have similar brains, whether you are Black, White, green or purple.” Badat is of the mind that bolder action and measures must be undertaken to bring about greater equity in access, opportunity and outcomes in higher education.

“This is a tragic waste of the talents and potential of individuals from socially subaltern groups — from amongst who may be another Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Angela Davis or Nelson Mandela,” Badat toldDiverse via email. “It also compromises democracy, which usually proclaims the promise of greater equality and a better life for all people.”

Article by:- Diverse Education

We are being destroyed indirectly by the systems in education

college-grad-hire-meIt is a dream of every African child to be a university student, get a degree and a job that pays well so that they will have a better living. However the sad reality is that this is less like to happen simple because the current system does not allow this to happen. We can celebrate today that more students are accessing the universities as compared to the past but practically the problem is no longer access.

I will focus to where I am, a vast majority of students are poor and can not even afford a registration fee, if they so happen to afford it they are not going to get NSFAS, and if they strike they will be arrested and charged; In other ways the current systems in our institutions are silencing us. If you are a new student with no funding at the end of the year you will be owing the university approximately R25 000 or more and unless you pay half of this amount you can not be readmitted to do your second year, thus you will be forced to go home with your first year. Clearly this is a system of undermining black and less fortunate students and pulling South Africa backwards.

Basically this is setting up young black South Africans for failure, but we can not talk about these issues because everyone is protecting oneself. Many students are owing universities and are being handed over to credit bureau’s, imagine being 18 years and owing R30 000 that you can never be able to pay because the university excluded you financially for failing to pay these funds something they did know the time they admitted you. I do not think they care, they are only trying their best to kill the future of our young people.

The student leadership has become so weak that its even failing to see the crisis we are currently facing, they have turned out to be celebrities rather than leaders and alcoholics who are in a looting spree.

After all the education system is also a contributing factor in an ongoing class struggle, ask yourself the question why there are private school that offer a better education as opposed to public schools.

If we are serious of turning South Africa into a equal country we must be not afraid to speak of issues and be faithful to ourselves, we must not mislead our people. Lastly we must take education serious.

234 Girls kidnapped from Nigeria School

Chibok – Parents say 234 girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamic extremists, up significantly from the 85 reported by education officials.

The higher figure came out on Monday, a week after the kidnappings, when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town.

Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them.

Security officials had told governor Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 130km from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and birthplace of the Boko Haram terrorist network blamed for the abductions.

The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved.


Let there be light

The word said “let there be light”.  We were created to break the darkness in the wold.  Do not look outside of yourself for the power and divinity to shape the world because you are the light of the world.  Let not the darkness consume you because with you, darkness can not be.



on vision

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
― Albert Einstein


Thank you to everyone who joined our first MIC CHeck for the year.  We seek to strengthen our resolve and amplify our voices as grapple together with the nature and shape of the world we are creating.   Thank you for your open, honest and generous sharing of how we see the world.

It is only through an open society where each member has a right to a voice that we will build our young democracy.

The Miyela team