There is a gigantic obligation to direct investment into South Africa’s education; now more than ever. The private sector investment is visible; however, the impact is not transferring to value fast enough; to close the growing callous gap of uneducated and unskilled labour force to match industry demands. The demeaning gap has existed for centuries, incited by varying motives; however, they all have left the common impressions of oppression, poverty, and no dignity.
The missionaries are now comparatively substituted by NGO’s, Private sector and Wealthy businesswomen and men.
I want to believe the obligation is rooted in the conscious acknowledgement by those who have made it (by society’s definition of success); those who were willfully nurtured by not one person; and those knowing first-hand that nurturing also happens beyond the classroom. The private sector motive economically understands the ongoing pressure of skill and knowledge scarcity, the relationship to their growth and the country’s GDP; -I won’t talk about what satiates them more.
Lack of access to education, especially quality education in South Africa is a known reality. It is motivated by unemployment and poverty. The demise of the public school system gave opportunity to a new business market of private school education, which is equated to superior education and safe learning environments. It does not come cheap, and these schools are concentrated in metropolitan cities. They too have a malignant systematic approach of oppression and demeaning by class, gender, and race, damaging the dignity of fragile minds who have a belief that they have made it.
The chance of majority of South African children accessing quality education is bleak. Investment in enabling and supporting learning outside the classroom system; is an opportunity that is abandoned.
This gap is exacerbated by high access barrier to the escalating and expensive currency that is technology and data. It has been proven that the school system is rigid; and it is also a known fact proving not to be the sole avenue for excellence, measure of intelligence, or guaranteed success. We are behind the curve of teaching relatable, practical, and relevant content. We are also very slow and unintentional in investing in industries driven by talent, evolving industry like the arts and sports. We have a super talented pool of children in schools parched for the right support, children not solid in academics or not interested; we are letting them down.
Now, what has armed a global networking solutions giant with contravening the provisions of both the Home Affairs’ Immigration Regulations and the Employment Equity Act – mechanisms aimed at tackling the apartheid-created burden of unacceptably high levels of poverty, unemployment, and socio-economic inequality the majority of citizens continue to suffer in post-apartheid South Africa?
A 2020 Department of Labour conducted audit had revealed the following contraventions by the network solution giant:
There is an added probability that they have no confidence in the local labour market; or is it the obvious business financial gain and the currency to develop knowledge, insight, and experience in the African market. I do understand their selfish human capacity and capability strategy at a Micro & Macro level, it is commendable.
How much of this company’s knowledge and insight gained on our shore will be accessible and tapped into by local resources for the industry? How deep are the teeth of the Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of labour’s mandate and framework in ensuring that skills and knowledge transfer is tangible and measurable for SMME’s, and direct to the labour market? Was this applied in this instance? How do they measure it?
There is also the Companies Act in terms of which there is an obligation on business to safeguard, not only the interests of shareholders, but also those of consumers and the community. The Act is clear that business has a broader social role to play and requires organisations to report on their activities with respect to social and economic development, and the promotion of equality in the communities in which they operate. The solution giant’s greatest visible social impact visible are celebrities’ sponsorships. Is that what the Africa child is deduced to?
Why has the global networking solutions giant not required to build a well-resourced school, with first grade funded teachers by them, with an objective of further mentoring local entrepreneurs and teachers with industry critical skills. Are these development policies impossible to be mandated through the supply chain policy objective for localisation, skill, and knowledge transfer?
The culture of not valuing self and all our people as a country is driving such poor decision making. We need to review our foundational learning principles and content like self-love, Ubuntu, belief in self and the relation to success; to implement at elementary level and incorporate in South African boardrooms where such counterproductive decisions are made. The South African racial divide is inconsiderately enabling long lasting devastating impacts of loss of economic power and poverty by all. In time all our children (across all races) will be equally impacted and be judged first by being a South African. We are setting our children and Africa for for greater reprehensible failure. We have self-hate and inhumanity issue as South Africans, that’s why it’s easier to be divided, and slowly and yet surely everyone is conquering us as a collective.
Don’t be fooled by the high wall you have now, it will soon come down for your children, because you live by inhuman decisions.
We suffer the dilapidating under reported white-collar crime, hate in boardrooms, abuse of men and women in boardrooms, theft through private companies, and state corruption funded through private corporates. These greatest economic atrocities are not addressed, they don’t even become topical front news for certain newspapers and radio stations. This deliberate script shifts focus from the greatest corruption factions.
Coupled with establishing effective learning systems and environments; we should invest in shifting mindsets from scarcity to abundance; we are a wounded society. Why do we not increase the health budget and capacity for free counselling to be accessed at public schools and libraries? I am acknowledging how most of these libraries have sadly gone extinct.
We are in Africa, and there is abundance. We have been taught systematically through inferior and fearful mindsets that we are not enough and there is not enough. We are enough and there is enough, otherwise the world would not be standing.
Thami Magele is an enthusiastic conversationalist passionate about education, humanity, and the unspoken edge of being. She is not a writer.