With Human Rights day having just passed, it made me think of one of the most basic human rights that have seemed to cause more problems in South Africa in the last few months than any other: education. And with this important day just behind us, is there any better time than now to start questioning the gaps, issues and problems plaguing our education system?
In sunny South Africa, things are not looking all that bright. For months and months on end, headline after headline has autopsied the dire state of our education system. The questions being asked: can education be offered for free? Why can’t all people, rich or poor get to experience equal education? Won’t these educated minds have a vastly positive effect on our economy? Meaning, more money for errrbody! More money equates to happier people with lower walls, doesn’t it?
Chapter Two of our Constitution says that, “Education shall be directed towards the development of the human personality and a sense of personal dignity, and shall aim at strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” These, my friends are in my opinion, just a lot of talk. We need these ideals to be put into practice, allowing everybody to feel no less than one another.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is an American multinational consumer goods company that has involved themselves in this fight through the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a programme founded by Barack Obama in 2010 and picked up by UNISA in 2015 (by opening the Southern Africa YALI Regional Leadership Centre and inviting young Africans across Sub-Saharan Africa to apply for the programme) GO UNISA!
This epic initiative aims to provide a platform for young South Africans, like you and I to have the opportunity to develop our learning skills. They get taught to become critical thinkers, solve complex equations in communication, to think with innovation and creativity and to mould these youngsters into successful, hardworking and developed people.
Now some questions: Firstly, why is it the job of companies like P & G to step up to the plate and support and grow youthful talent in South Africa? Perhaps it’s because they’ve got the money and need the good PR. I can get behind that.
But secondly: why aren’t more companies doing the same? It’s no secret our government has a lot on its plate but that’s no excuse. Even I can agree that they’re a useless bunch sometimes. But I also think that it falls on those with big pockets to assist the government when they can. If for no other reason, because those you help could one day land up running your company. Like how people always say “Don’t be mean to the nerd in school because he will probably land up being your boss one day.” We say that doing good, and being kind will come back to you in the best possible way!