A truly dangerous game to play is to let the previously disadvantaged now have equity over the previously ‘advantaged’ when it comes to professions which through irresponsibility can lead to death. We all know that in the auto service industry often qualified personnel allow unqualified personnel to work on the brakes, steering and suspension p0arts of a motor vehicle. If this is been properly supervised, which I doubt, then this should not pose a problem – hands on training is the best way to go. But not when it comes to the medical, policing or aviation professions. South Africa has the equity system in place specifically to ensure that women get good good jobs, the previously disadvantaged are given a better than average chance of making their mark at any professional level, this includes the electrical, plumbing and teaching industries to name a few.
However entry levels are dropping and from an international educational standpoint, South Africa offers some of the lowest standards of education in Africa let alone on a global level. Unfortunately with these entry levels dropping a question arises, one which may very well point to risky behaviour. The medical profession is just one. In order to study medicine a student needs to get at least an A at matric level, this should not just be for the previously disadvantaged but any student whom has worked hard through school for a good pass to study further at a higher place of learning. Unfortunately the equity standards favour the disadvantaged. So the previously adavantaged, (read: parents) send their kids overseas to study and this practice slowly erodes our society of academics, over-achievers and sadly almost any person whom has qualified on a professional level. (I use professional level loosely, although we like to think of the legal, medical and accounting professions I do include those with any post matric qualification as well as artisans).
I don’t have a problem with a student with a 50% or 60% pass rate studying to become a CA or LLB but I do have a problem with that person studying medicine and becoming a practicing doctor. In most professions we can afford to make mistakes and rectify them later but doctors? No. Which brings us on to our topic – aviation. Although I have no problem with the so called previously disadvantaged been allowed to get a commercial pilots licence I do have qualms about even the slightest letting down of standards to allow anyone to fly an aircraft, let alone a commercial aircraft. In a Sunday paper it has been agreed that the SAA will lift the ban on white males from applying to become pilots.
This raises an interesting point, why should the SAA have any say on whom or what should be flying their aircraft if the SAA flies through international air space. This should be up to the body that controls international airspace, core competency and licencing. As any pilot will tell you, to get a commercial licence to fly in international air space (and national) is a lifetime journey of high-level training which costs millions of doallars. Why do we want to now allow the field to be open to just the previously disadvantaged? Is this media hype? I hope so.
The aviation authority in South Africa and hopefully world-wide aren’t looking at whether you came from a previously disadvanted group but rather your ability. South Africa is not known for their very high standard of mathematics at school level but one thing you can be rest assured of is that nobody in their right mind will allow standards to drop because we need to fulfill equity criteria in the aviation industry. My take is this: SAA will cover study costs in any event whether you are from a previously disadvantaged background or not, there is a standard and you neet to meet the criteria of this standard which should not be based on the colour of one’s skin. Those that have the A+ matrics get first option. There are many Black, Indian and Coloured students getting A+ matrics whom have absolutely no interest in piloting an aircraft, let alone being a passenger in an aircraft. Give the opportunity to ALL those that studied their butts off just to become a pilot not open the gates to those that are just looking for a job. Becoming a pilot is a passion – don’t kill this passion by playing the racial game. SAA is world renowned for their high quality pilots whether black or white, male or female. I don’t care as long as long as on my next trip the pilot didn’t take maths literacy, social networking, cell phone operation and reading as subjects in matric.