Not so long ago the liberation forces in South Africa entrenched the idea that the people should forgo their education in favour of fighting for freedom from the yoke of apartheid. Slogans such as “liberation before education” were common in the townships where the majority of South Africans were confined to live.
It was perhaps not the wisest of decisions because it burdened the country with a whole generation of people not quite ready for the demands of a free and democratic society. Leaders such as Nelson Mandela realised that education was a necessity to ensure a stable and prosperous democracy, but sadly that seems to fallen by the wayside as our current leaders embrace immorality and avarice as a means to an end.
It is hard to not notice how standards in education have fallen year on year, and while the people complain, the leaders just thumb their noses at us in response. The choice of Angie Motshekga as Basic Education Minister by President Jacob Zuma, was just another in a series of atrocious decisions by him. Choosing Blade Nzimande as Minister of Higher Education was no less abominable. When Angie does not bury her head in the sand in the face of warranted criticism, she has it jammed firmly up her backside. Blade on the other hand spends more time regurgitating obsolete revolutionary rhetoric, than doing anything worth mentioning for education.
The choice of these two incompetent wastrels, is a clear indication that the ANC government is not serious about taking education forward. Indeed, they seem to neither have the faintest idea how to accomplish this, nor the inclination to at least try.
Meanwhile the penchant to denigrate western standards of education by some apologists of Zuma and the government, don’t help matters at all. This writer believes that spending time behind a classroom desk should not be the only option available to learners. He seems to think that “…gathering plants for food, hunting wild animals, rearing cattle, planting crops, running initiation schools, slaughtering cattle or goats for ancestral rituals, paying tribute to kings, attending traditional courts, even engaging in war,” constitutes a viable alternative.
South Africa is headed for serious calamity in the near future if something drastic is not done to advance the cause for education. It’s a great pity then, that our current crop of leaders seem to favour majority rule as a means to change the world.