SGB Chairperson and Members
Parents and Learners
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Programme Director, it is my singular honour and privilege to say a few words on this very important Ministerial Imbizo.
To quote from Ahmed Kathrada: “It is the youth whom we must educate to prevent them from repeating the foolishness of their parents. It is also in our schools that children learn to be racists. We can and must take our schools laboratories of anti-racism”
In recognising the voice of young people the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation together with Khwera ye Africa have embarked on an Essay Writing Competition against racism. Through this competition, young people are mobilised, engaged and educated in the fight against racism and other intolerances that are hitting alarming proportion in the country. They are afforded a voice, an opportunity through which they can creatively use their talents to share experiences, encounters and untold stories of racism.
June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa, with a specific focus on June 16, which is also known as Youth Day. Youth Month pays tribute to the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto. This year marks the 41st anniversary of the Soweto uprisings. This years’ theme is: “The year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”. The theme challenges our young cadres to fight for their economic empowerment in their lifetime. OR Tambo who played an important role during the liberation struggle in the advancement of the democracy in South Africa was once a young lion who together with his comrades such as Mr Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada stood firm in promoting the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
All these comrades and more were once young in their lifetime. They stood with the principles of fairness, human dignity, non-racialism, non-sexism and promoting of a just society where everybody will leave in peace and harmony. These are the same ideals that the youth of today still aspires to. However, there are new presenting challenges that require a different form of strategy facing the youth now. So it is through such collaborations and partnerships such as Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and Khwera ye Africa that young people are afforded opportunities to raise their voice but also come up with strategies that can only improve the quality of their lives and generations to come. Department of Basic Education strongly encourages involvement of young people in different programmes that will not only empower them but will also benefit their communities where they come from.
It is Mandela’s passion for education that in his Rivonia Trial speech, he fought poverty, exploitation, oppression, racism, prejudice, disparities and all forms of discrimination. And this is still applicable to the youth of today, considering that South Africa belongs to the African continent and the global world. It is a known fact that young people are the future, they need to realise this responsibility and begin to be developmental in doing things in the spirit of togetherness.
The DBE responds to the call of youth nurturing and empowerment. The DBE’s commitment in realising this is seen through a number of programmes such as the feeding schemes that gives hope and restores dignity for many but continues to keep learners in schools that could not have an opportunity to do so. Other programmes that promote Constitutional values and culture of human rights are the Moot Court, iNkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History, Democracy and National Heritage Education (NHC) as well as Girls and Boys Education Movement. It is encouraged that all young people in their schools participates in one or more of these programmes.
The DBE is proud to say that we will continue to support initiatives that promote the Sector Plan. Through Action Plan to 2019: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030, huge advances have been made to improve the quality of education. Schools have been built, learners are being fed, the curriculum has contributed to improved matric results, continuous implementation of CAPS, development of school management and teachers, initiatives to develop full citizens imbued with the Constitutional values are part of the curriculum. We will continue to improve education and ensure dignity for all our learners and teachers.
This competition is not only about winning but to educate yourselves and other young people around issues of racism and all other forms of discrimination. Therefore, all of you who participated in the essay writing competition should have learnt and improved your reading, writing, knowledge and creative skills as supported by the “READ TO LEAD” campaign.
To conclude, in realising the dream of education being a societal issue, we should all protect and take care of our communities and schools. This will ensure that our communities get improved better services, our schools become centres of excellent and ultimately the world becomes a better planet.
I thank you.