IT IS MORE THAN EDUCATION
Much has been said about the recent spate of student protests about free education and the subsequent capitulation of the South African government not to raise university fees for 2016. At the core of the protests were students’ concerns over inequality, transformation and access to tertiary institutions. At historically black universities, the issues were about survival – money and registration fees.
But is it only money, affordability and access to education that are needed to build a strong economic base for the country? Or are there more? What would it take to make South Africa the perfect reflection of a nation determined to succeed?
Two students hailing from eastern Asia currently studying at one of our universities displayed the following remarkable behaviors:
- They overcame the tremendous disadvantage of not understanding the tutoring language by attending every lecture and recording every word of every lecture.
- They worked through the material with an interpreter for hours after class.
- They constantly helped each other.
- They constantly questioned their fellow classmates from various countries and recorded every word, then worked with the translator after class.
- They were determined to achieve a common goal.
- They absolutely valued knowledge and they saw education and knowledge as the key ingredient to success.
- They showed an incredibly strong work ethic.
We could learn from these students. South Africa could see an economic miracle if we could achieve cultural cohesiveness. We could have a successful and growing country if we could build a society with the following attributes:
A society devoid of any sense of entitlement, with
low individual expectations and high aspirations,
realism in student expectations,
- self-accountability, and
- fortitude to self-help
Self-fulfilment is an essential component of entrepreneurship and self-fulfilment is found through academic qualifications, skills and experience, willingness and accepting self-accountability.
Education is needed for economic growth, but on its own it does little to promote growth. It needs the support and strength of a common goal, a strong work ethic and accountability to make it work.
It is the lack thereof that is eating away the foundation of community and country.