Another brick in the Wall

| April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

As every parent finds out, in the long span of time while your children are dependent on you, they will set you back financially far more than the cost of your house, your car and your drinking habits put together.

And I’m not even including their cellphone accounts. And then, on top of this. there is the cost of their education.

It does seem unfair that you as a parent and a citizen contributing to the nation’s future via your offspring also have to pay for their education. This wunderkind, this amazingly talented and beautiful fruit of your loins: shouldn’t a school be paying you for honour of having this gift to mankind grace its sports field? Especially considering the kudos their achievements are sure to bring to the school.

So, the search for a sport bursary at a school that may just get him through matric as well begins.

Of course, traipsing from school to school seeking the best sport bursary on offer is not only a time-consuming and wearisome business, it’s inefficient. And unfair.

But (and here’s where my brilliant idea comes in), it needn’t be. No, indeed. After all, it’s simply a marketing exercise on the part of both school and parent. So why not turn the bursary business into a commercial venture?

Centuries ago, even rural bumpkins realised that a market fair to display your goods and wares – livestock included – was the way to go. And for prospective buyers and sellers, an added efficiency is still to use the auction system. It works well with race horses and livestock. So why not for pupils seeking bursaries?

No doubt there are those teachers who baulk – nay, are horrified – at the very idea of our youth being equated with livestock at a market. And to be fair, they do have a point. Teenagers are not products. They are not livestock. They are not pigs on a block. There is no comparison. Oh no. They are far less valuable! And what about their high maintenance costs? No self-respecting cow, sheep or pig is in the same league.

But let’s be positive. Maybe we should give our youth a chance. While it is true that they are generally unproductive, gluttonous and lazy, with an appalling readiness to become breeding stock, we mustn’t be too negative. There are those who may just surprise you (miracles do happen, you know).

And so, to the process. Imagine an educational “fair” complete with a bursary “auction”, with “buyers” – in the form of school admission representatives with purchasing mandates from headmasters and sports coaches – and “sellers” – parents. The commercial transaction might go something like this:

Auctioneer: “Lot 44. A Grade 7 male, with teeth intact, of considerable cricketing and rugby talent. Certificates supplied. Academic results show he is presently below average and requiring remediation.

“Shall I start the bidding at a full sport bursary plus boarding accommodation and extra lessons? Any takers? No? Then, what say you to a half bursary without accommodation but with extra lessons. No? Ladies and gentlemen, for your school, there is on offer an all-rounder with an elegant cover drive and a 40-metre kick into touch into the wind measured at sea level. Surely this would be a fine acquisition for your major matches against your local rivals… Thank you – there is a bid from school 52. Do I hear a full bursary? Thank you, school 23… And accommodation? Thank you, School 14. No remediation on offer? (Oh well, who cares about academics these days?) Any more bids? Going once for the first time…”

You can see how much more efficient this would be.


Category: Autumn 2018

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