What does it take to educate a nation?

2016-10-02 18:41

South Africa is in once again in turmoil. The reason? The cost of education.

On the one hand there are those who come from privileged families, who don’t battle to afford education. Then there are others. Those who struggle to get by. Those who sleep in toilets just to be able to study. Tragic!

This is a sad situation and a part of our country which needs drastic intervention. However I’m not sure if free education is the route to go. Why do I say so? Well, there are many factors to consider. Like what?

Well for one thing, quality education costs money. There are so many costs involved. The lecturers have to be paid. There are electricity bills, the cost of quality laboratories, the running costs of research (I’m not sure how that is funded). I just wonder if all these students who protest understand what is at stake? Up to now we have had a relative high quality of education. Our lecturers have dedicated themselves to maintain high standards. They’ve been willing to work hard, because they were, apart from being passionate, paid well. If education becomes free, will that continue? I wonder...

We need to take a long and hard look at ourselves. Where are we heading? What do we really want?

Do we just want free education no matter what the cost is? Or do we want something that we can be proud of? Something that will enable us to compete with the rest of the world...

South Africans and especially the South African youth need to think about what they want for the future. Don’t kust think about what we need right now. Think long-term. Ten or twenty years from now... Where will we be? How will South Africa look?

We can’t afford to let our standards drop. Quality education costs money! It is a fact of life...

Yes, I do feel sorry for the poor. Yes everyone deserves an education. But not at the expense of standards that will have to drop!

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what the ultimate solution is. All I know is that we need to consider what is at stake. We need to consider the pros and cons. Most of all we need to realise that we have the treasure of quality education in our midst. We can’t afford to lose that...

South Africa is a country characterised by immense poverty. Maybe we need to find a way of creating our own opportunities. Why not work and study? There are many who do that. It is possible...

Education is the backbone of the future. It is the ticket to a better life. However, it needs to be of good quality. There is no point in funding a system that will provide leaders who won’t be able to lead. If we want to succeed as a country, if we want to excel, we need to aim high. Like Norman Vincent Peale said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”


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