by Staff reporter

ERADICATING POVERTY

Education: A pivotal role in eradicating poverty

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"Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.” Amilcar Cabral

It was W.E.B Du Bois who said, “Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”

These are pertinent words indeed, but we cannot dwell on them. We need to move forward and fully comprehend that we need to approach our challenges with the will and imperativeness required, otherwise, we will always fall short, and will merely be wishing on shooting stars and building sand castles.

This sentiment is primarily aimed at power. It is crucial that leaders quickly realise power is, in fact, a noble privilege. Good leadership inherently means to serve, lead and be led. Power is a mutual enabler and equaliser, much like a hammer in the sense that it can either destroy or build a new era altogether.

Unless we invest in free, quality education that is based on people, innovativeness, empowerment and engagement. Until that time, we cannot speak.

When we talk about education, we are not simply talking about getting a job and living a lavish lifestyle—we are talking about the advancement of Africa, decreasing the brain drain, skills development, capacity building and about a nation that is self-sufficient, functioning, independent and that can partake, innovate and adapt to the increasingly globalised world.

Core to this aspiration is utilising our youth as vehicles, active bodies and problem solvers to our countries turmoils. As part of our “next school initiative”, we have conceptualised a strategy: a 3-day showcase, which involves young innovators inspiring learners to come up with solutions and unique ideas that could solve their problems. It also aims to engage teachers, enabling them to truly comprehend that teaching is an art form—it’s about finding points of entries, invoking creativity and creating a conducive, fun, engaging learning space.

The success of this strategy will see education play a pivotal role in eradicating poverty. As Monde Sitole Educational Strategies Foundation, we negotiated a starting point, ‘People’s Education’, which, as Mhletshwa said during his keynote speech in December 1986, “prepares people to total human liberation, full participation in all social, political, or cultural spheres of society helps people to be creative, to develop a critical mind and analyse”. To echo Walter Sisulu’s words, we need “education which serves people as a whole which liberates, which puts people in command of their lives and which is determined by and accountable to the people.”

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