Students' perceptions of racial desegregation and integration in three schools around Durban.
This study explores the perceptions of racial desegregation and integration in schools from the point of view of students in three schools that previously fell under NED, HOR and HOD. Democratization of schools which has coincided with desegregation is also touched on briefly. Schools that previously catered for one race group have had to admit all learners irrespective of race after desegregation. This has encouraged migration of learners from township schools to previously 'coloured' , 'Indian' and 'white' schools in search of spaces. This process of school desegregation which is just a simple mechanical process inevitably leads to a more complex one, racial integration. In each of the schools studied, a questionnaire with items on racial desegregation and integration was given to a grade 11 class and a follow-up interview schedule based on questionnaire responses was drawn. 45 minute interviews were conducted with smaller groups in each grade 11 class and one group per school was used for interviews. The results showed that students are very positive about desegregation, integration and democracy. It became evident that in South Africa, there is a shortage of a strong cadre in integration issues. Students tended to show support for strategies of avoiding issues as evidenced by a strong preference for 'colour blindness' and for students to see themselves as one 'Rainbow Nation'. The results also showed that while racial desegregation was evident among students, the same could not be said about the staff and the school governing bodies. There was a noticeable drop in numbers of students to whom the school previously belonged and an increase of African students. The study also revealed that students know what they want to learn in schools.
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