Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
The reality, however, is that in our poorer schools we are losing another generation. The post-schooling opportunities available to the majority of learners from Ebony and Ivory Park are extremely limited due to the poor performance of the schools in this area and a lack of resources, support and external assistance. This week Siyakhula delivered Micro-Science kits to two nearby high schools in an effort to help address the lack of science laboratory equipment. 6 Science teachers were trained by Radmaste (WITS) and provided with the tools for practical hands-on experimentation – the challenge is again highlighted by the fact that these 6 teachers are responsible for the science education of over 4000 learners. You do the Math.
For most of the matriculants from these schools, the post-schooling options available are almost entirely low-skills dependent. Tertiary education is extremely rare and, at best, only 5% of learners will graduate with university exemption. The overwhelming majority will not achieve the required academic standard necessary for further education and skills development and their future life and career options remain severely restricted as a result. During the dark days of Apartheid a rallying cry for the oppressed was “Freedom or Death” – freedom at the time was simply non-negotiable and there was no doubt as to its importance. Should the new rallying cry for us today be something like “Education or Death”? Surely quality education is simply non-negotiable and what can be more important? Is it not increasingly urgent that we put behind us the days of ‘liberation before education’? How do we more effectively unlock the empowering and transforming potential of ‘liberation through education’?
Siyakhula’s schools enrichment programme aims to provide youth from underperforming schools with the necessary skills and information – both academic and personal – to access further educational and/or employment opportunities and thereby transform their personal and social circumstances. Quite literally we are trying the change the world.
For a very accurate and well-written description of the state of our township and rural schools, click here. (Note the suggestions in the last paragraph)