I believe in the right to education because it not only gives me the power to achieve what I want to achieve, but it also gives me assurance that I can accomplish whatever I want to accomplish and more. It gives me the knowledge to exercise my other rights. Why is that possible? First of all, education is not limited to having a diploma or degree. It also consists of respect, being open-minded, and discovering new information every day. It opens one’s mind to a whole new experience every time, and it unites us as human beings because we share our thoughts and experiences with each other.

I have keywords that I’ve personally based under education which are knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. I once heard someone say “educated people think they know ‘everything’, they think they can undermine those that do not have a degree or never went to school.” I think that person who said that either had a negative encounter with someone who was conceited about their education, or he was just trying to make himself feel better because he probably never got the opportunity or he simply just let an opportunity slip.

I felt like that was just lack of understanding of the purpose of education and why people exercise their right to education. On the other hand, in my opinion, if you are educated you should know better than to undermine someone who does not have the privilege of being educated. Because although it is our right as South Africans to education, the truth is not all of us have the privilege to go further than matric, and some even below that due to circumstances.

That is why we shouldn’t look at education as just going to school, reading, being in class, etcetera. We should respect those not as privileged as us, and not become ignorant because that person you might be undermining may have the wisdom that might help you one day, and because they did not have the standard of education you might’ve received, you will both need each other. With knowledge and wisdom you can do great things.

We should still in this day and age see education as a privilege and appreciate it, because it is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Although it might be pushed and encouraged by peers, educators, and parents, it all comes down to whether you as an individual are willing to fully commit to this tough and refreshing opportunity.

It didn’t take me overnight to appreciate and realize that education is a gift that I give myself, and that it is very important. It took me 18 years and I’m turning 19 this year, so basically my whole life. But because of the hurdles, the people I’m surrounded with, and the community I reside in, I had to smack myself a few times to understand open-mindedly the right to education and fully appreciate it.