Human values in education : an exploratory study of how human values are interpreted and expressed at two primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Department of Education's commitment to transform the South African Education system from the apartheid era to the new democratic era has proved to be a challenging one. Overwhelming evidence indicates that conflict, violence, substance abuse and teenage suicides are escalating. Education has reached an impasse! Moral degeneration is increasing exponentially implying that academic or "book knowledge" alone is inadequate in addressing these issues. It is therefore imperative that existing strategies as well as new approaches in education be closely examined and revisited if necessary in order to reverse the present state of society to one that is safe and acceptable for all life forms. This research seeks to explore what values are being taught or caught at school and how these values are interpreted and expressed both by learners as well as educators within the school. The research has been conducted at two primary schools in the Durban area of Kabuli- Natal. One is a public school that is directed solely by the National Curriculum Statement. The other is an independent school that is directed by the NCS as well as a value-based education programme. This study has used the qualitative approach and is set within the interpretive paradigm. Semi structured interviews were used as the primary research instrument to generate data. In addition to this, observation and document analysis were used. These multiple methods have assisted in triangulating the data received in order to identify commonalities as well as inconsistencies. The analysis indicates that the aspect of human rights, respect and responsibility (3R's) is contained in the National Curriculum Statement and in the South African Constitution. However the major discrepancy lies in the effective promotion and implementation of these values at school. Findings show that learners displayed a clear understanding and appreciation of values when these values are integrated and reinforced everyday. This study concludes with the idea that a concerted effort must be made to promote the teaching of human values at schools.