Natal's "Native" education, 1917-1953 : education for segregation.
The Natal Education Department's "Native" education system which functioned from 1910 to 1953 has often been termed a good example of "liberal" education for Africans. However an investigation into the administrative structure and curricula content of this education order proved that numerous similarities existed between "Native" education, as formulated by the Natal Education Department, and "Bantu" education as established by the Nationalist government as part of its apartheid program. "Native" education in Natal could be considered a forerunner of "Bantu" education. Both systems were designed to achieve similar aims, eg. to maintain the social divisions, aid in the reproduction of semi-skilled labour and bolster the reserve system and migrant labour system. Course content was geared, in both "Native" and "Bantu" education, to promote a specific way of life for the African - a life that was both rural and agrarian in nature. A continuity of both method and aim existed between the two education orders. In effect, despite the different rhetoric and arguments used by the authorities of these two education systems, both implemented systems aimed at maintaining segregation. Emphasis is placed on exposing the true character of "Native" education as well as developing the argument that "Native" and "Bantu" education should be seen as the continuation of a specific education order rather than two distinct and different systems. This study focuses on Natal's 'Native' education and reveals it as a system designed to promote segregation and protect white interests. It too did not have the true interests of African children at heart.