Traditionally, the mass media and education have enjoyed a love-hate relationship. On one hand television and newspapers particularly, have provided extensive and extremely useful education content. On the other, however, their newsrooms never seem to hesitate when controversy rears is ugly head.
In theory, it is absolutely vital for the mass media to keep an eye on the way in which governments administer and develop education, but it has to be said that in this day and age of a battle for survival within the mass media industry, the watchdog does tend to become somewhat rabid at times.
Like most businesses the mass media often takes a line of least resistance when problems occur and a first step always seems to blame the trades union movements.
In South Africa the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) inevitably faces tremendous criticism from the mass media when its members protest the enormous challenges and deprivations they face in the classrooms. Many of those challenges having very little to do with actual teaching.
Regrettably, the relationship between the mass media and education involves a lot of indulgence in blame-games and reaction by both sides to superficial symptoms.
There is undeniably an urgent need for the education authorities and the mass media to join together in improving the lot of our youngsters and young adults. The media cannot just be a watchdog and nothing else and the national and provincial education departments cannot work in isolation or out of the public eye.
It is no good the mass media simply...