Speech on education
Central to our struggle for all these years and central to why we are contesting this election is the struggle to create whole beings. Each time we remind ourselves why we've had a prolonged struggle in our land, we come back to the same answer; that every child, every woman and man in our country, should be given a fair share of a rounded and complete life. At the end of the day when all is said and done, beyond the rhetoric and slogans, we have to ensure that we give every person in our society a fair shot at his or her life. It must be as complete as possible, without the least turbulence and with the most capacity and resources available to develop. For years we fought for the right to a meaningful education. Since our inception the ANC has had no doubts that education was a right and NOT a privilege. Education was used as one of the Nationalist Party government's tools of oppression. However, our children resisted time and time again. In 1976 students and children took it upon themselves to legitimately protest against an illegitimate government and its oppressive education system. We remember with sadness the price that was paid in 1976 on June 16th. It is with anger and sorrow that we recall the government's response. Banners and placards demanding a better education were no protection or match against teargas and the blast of shotguns. If we had to learn about Jan van Riebeeck and the Battle of Blood River, then in future we must learn about Hector Peterson, the Trojan Horse Massacre in Athlone, Boipatong and so many more incidents in our bloody and historical struggle. Education has been the weapon of oppression for too long. We have fought for many years to prove that education is a RIGHT and not a privilege. But the NP argues that June 1976 is a part of the past. They want us to forget the intolerable and unjust systems they created. They say we must only look at the present. So let us turn to the present. The government still spends more than three times as much money on a white pupil as they do on a black pupil. 75% of African people and 50% of Coloured people have no education, or only primary school level. We are still subjected to multiple education departments, despite the monumental waste of resources over the past years. Subsidy cuts have caused fees and accommodation crises for many students. South African whites as a group are believed to achieve the highest educational levels in the world, while African adults have an average of five years of schooling. With this bitter experience in mind, we have to ask how education can be transformed into a tool for development. Now is the time to put these words into action, to create a system which respects the right of every person to quality learning. We have to transform education into an institution that turns out young adults equipped with skills to be productive and contribute to our economy. In addition, we have to ensure that the education gives them all a sense of worth and pride in themselves. This must apply notonly to the present generation of children but to our children's children. We are also faced with a backlog of 15 million adults with no education or insufficient education. The ANC will ensure that the parents and workers of this country become literate and get further education. The parents of our children must be able to improve their levels of education without having to go back to school. Education is our key to a better life for all. Here is how education will help us: Education brings us jobs because it gives us the skills and training to choose the work we wish to do. Qualitative education will give everyone an equal chance to develop their abilities. If the space is created for everyone to start at the same levle it allows peace to permeate through the land. Education brings us freedom, the freedom to grow and to use all our resources to their full potential. For decades students, teachers, parents have raised...
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