Education in South Africa requires Sustainable Funding
SA Education needs sustainable funding model: Kgalema Motlanthe:- While addressing a lecture on the value-based leadership at the Rhodes University, the former president Kgalema Motlanthe said some very crucial remarks over the educational system of South Africa.
He said “South Africa should priorities education right now and provide it with all the commitments, input, expertise and finances it requires, and this includes over all education which includes early childhood development, primary, secondary school and the higher education.”
Areas which should be kept in focus
Different issues on which we are focusing right now are diverting our attention and energy from the educational crisis which we are facing.
If all our education ministers will report to the Parliament on the progress made at all levels of education, we will be have a celebration time. Hence we would know that we are doing something to change the future of all youngsters in South Africa.
Why even after 22 years (since 1994) education is still there, where it was? Why are thousands of pupils, students, teachers, principals, lecturers and researchers feel dissatisfied, frightened and apprehensive about the education when it is the single most unimpeachable institutional cornerstone? Why are there so much delays in resolving the issues as important as fees for the higher education or in developing or hiring maths and science teachers?
Education, Economy and Unemployment
We can never tackle our economy, the unemployment and inequality without giving importance to education.
The Nobel-prize winning economist and professor at the Columbia University, Joseph Stiglitz says that we keep looking to standardise economics for the answers, when it has already failed the people.
It led to an increase in the number of unemployed people and created inequality, and these two factors together eventually kill economies.
He also referred to the “rising tide” economic theory which says that if you give the appropriate resources to the wealthy or ruling people, the benefits will trickle down to every single person. However, this has never happened, as he explains “The rising high tide has only lifted the big yachts, while many small boats have been dashed on the rocks.”
He says “This is primarily because the extraordinary growth in the top incomes has coincided with the economic slowdown, and most strikingly the executive compensation has displayed a positive growth even during the time when stock market values decreased.”
The inequality gap is widening
All this while, the inequality and unemployment gaps widened, and, instead of tackling them and head on with the intellectual honesty and the sense of urgency, people in power and authority in SA kept on watching as the inequality, unemployment and educational crises caused violence, sociopolitical and economic instability.
We have already seen this playing out in many universities and schools by the lack of government leadership, and an amnesia about where the education in this country came from and where it ought to be.
Motlanthe quoted the poet Keorapetse Kgositsile: “In a situation of oppression, you are either a tool of oppression or an instrument of liberation.”
Motlanthe said that Kgositsile wrote “past present future” as a single word because out past continues to cast a shadow on our present, unless and until we create a better future for everybody.
Motlanthe questioned that what it says about the society where education is degenerating in the black and coloured communities. He questioned how anybody in the government, including himself, could let this happen when it is very well known what the so-called Bantu Education did to most of the South African people after it was introduced by the Nationalist in 1954.
The National Party Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd decreed that the teachers at black schools should be trained to produce children who would not aspire in the life to go above a specific level of labour. The system ensured that the teachers in the black schools were very poor at mathematics and science.
Motlanthe added that of all the vices and excesses of the apartheid movement, the Bantu education system was the worst. He terms it “the most serious crime committed by apartheid”.
Liberty to get educated
Past Present Future
It is why past present future still prevails. We must, with conviction and action, split these words.
With all modern technologies and the means of communications available, it is possible to speed-up the teaching and learning environment in all schools, where creative partnerships, logistics and funding models could be found.
Motlanthe warns: “Till the time the basic education is weak, the economy of this nation will continue to remain weak.”
And as long as the higher education faces an unsustainable funding model, the economic growth and the social stability we desire, will be a dream.
Education is an investment that will drive an all new energy solution, deliver services, education for the future generations, and will eventually give us a safe and prosperous country.