I believe in education. Without a good education I couldn’t be doing this right now, writing this to you in English.

Even though it’s been 21 years after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, 21 years of living in a democracy, the education received by many young people in South Africa still remains vastly unequal. Education was the foundation upon which inequality was fashioned during the apartheid era and it still exist today as the greatest obstacle to equality, dignity and freedom in today’s South Africa.

The right to basic education means a lot to me because with it people can get more knowledge about a lot of things. Education can help put both poor and working class people to an equal platform so as to heal the divisions of the past and establish an equal society. It is with education that one can then be able to demand and realise all the other rights listed for them in the Constitution. The part in our Constitution’s Preamble which says ‘Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person’ can only be acquired when education is prioritized before anything else.

More often than not, you will find that in poor working-class communities like Khayelitsha the schools there are under-resourced, under-staffed, and overcrowded, which has a huge negative impact on the academic performance of both learners and teachers. Poor communities are always side-lined and considered last if considered at all when it comes to service delivery. Education has never been as important as it is now. The importance of learning is to enable an individual to put their potential to optimal use. Education makes man a right thinker and a correct decision-maker. One can only acquire this when the right to education is prioritized.

Education makes people aware of thing going on around them. It achieves this by bringing them knowledge from the external world, teaching them to reason and acquainting them with past history so that they can be a better judge of the present. With education a man can find himself in a room with all its windows open to the outside world. A well-educated man is a more dependable worker, a better citizen, a centre of wholesome influence, pride to his community, and honour to his country. A nation is great only in proportion of its advancement in education. Victor D. Hugo said it best when he said “He who opens a school door closes a prison.” Only through a good education can an individual be offered and employed for a job with a high payment and not resort to crime.

Lastly, we must equip ourselves with a good education. We should never neglect education. We can be called unwise if we do so. Although education is not listed as a basic need of humans, we have to realise this because we are the assets of our country. The future of our country is safe in the hands of an educated society.