Mandarin and mechanics can be very useful

THERE is much brouhaha about the introduction of Mandarin into the South African schooling system.

My understanding is that this will not be mandatory, but optional.

Are those considering its introduction looking at the socio-political benefits of the move? China is, after all, projected to become an economic and military powerhouse.

When I reflect on an education system that compulsorily imposed a language like Afrikaans on me and thousands of others like me, I am at times filled with bewilderment and regret.

Surely that time resources and effort could have been channelled into something more useful.

Many years of study and practice have amounted to nought, since I and thousands of others have absolutely no use for the language. Indeed the same could be said for some of the other stuff the schooling system drilled into us.

Having said that, I am aware of many who now, because of race restrictions in this country, are compelled to study medicine in China. They spend many months learning Mandarin. If China is their route, then Mandarin will expedite matters.

Perhaps the time is nigh when education in South Africa is given an overhaul. More practical and useful subjects should be introduced. An introduction and basic understanding of disciplines like motor mechanics, plumbing or cooking should become more widespread as not everybody will excel in academics.