In almost all debates and discussions which deal with the problem of coming up with solutions to the tribulations in this country, one will always hear participants throw around the word ‘education’. At this proclamation, the room will almost always go silent as someone starts a slow clap, immediately followed by others. This is all well and good, but a few hours later, another person will do the same, followed by the same reaction.
If every think-tank came up with the same solution and worse, congratulated each other on that repeated solution, where would we be? Well, right where we are now. It is commonplace in South Africa to blame everything on one particular aspect of our nation. Unemployment, crime, corruption…everything is blamed on our failed or failing education system, and while this claim may have some credibility, I feel that people need to stop throwing out this single word and start analysing the situation to see what true solution they can come up with.
Blaming everything on education has become bland and uneducated (unintentional pun). When asked, most people are not able to come up with a genuine analysis of how to fix our education system or how it would ultimately turn our society into a utopia. The most constructive comment I’ve ever seen with regard to this, is to improve education merely by upping the budget. This is, of course, a simple short-term solution as capital is not the problem, but rather, the problem is the skill going into fixing the problem. You can throw as much money into the broken well as you want; if you do not pick the correct builder, the well will never get fixed.
Education as a solution to unemployment, a genuine cause of crime and poverty, is a worthy idea in some respects, but ignores the main cause of our unemployment - a cause that does not care about skill or intelligence of workers, but removes the ability or incentive to hire them in the first place.
Unemployment will only go down when the legislation holding back businesses from employing people is abolished. Legislation such as Affirmative Action, employment policies and the influence of labour unions is what is truly holding back employment. And as a result of that, crime and poverty grow. Till then, we can complain about education as much as we want, and it will change nothing.
If one knows how to undertake an action, but does not undertake it, it is the same as if they did not know it in the first place. Education is important, yes, but without the will to work, it is useless.
Education may be a goal which we should seek, but it is not a solution, merely a statement that people throw around when they don’t feel like truly analysing the situation. When people properly assess the problem, then we can start progressing as a society.
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