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Education is the key to the unification of black and white masses of South Africa
2015-11-13


From left are Dr Victor Teise (Head of School of Higher Education), Dr Mafu Rakometsi (CEO of UMALUSI), and Prof Sechaba Mahlomaholo (Dean of Faculty of Education).
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

In view of the divisive nature South Africa’s (SA) schooling system during the pre-1994 period, education appears to be one of the most potent unifying mechanisms of the democratic dispensation. With the elimination of Bantu education and the subsequent gain of access to basic and higher education by the historically-disadvantaged of this country, the schooling system is said to be building and reconstructing bridges which were burnt by the apartheid administration.

This opinion was shared by Dr Mafu Rakometsi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UMALUSI – the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training. Dr Rakometsi, a University of the Free State alumnus, presented a guest lecture titled: “Educational transformation in South Africa – lessons for the future” on Thursday 5 November 2015 at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The discussion of salient matters regarding education and transformation was hosted by the Faculty of Education in collaboration with Institutional Advancement: Alumni.

According to Dr Rakometsi, the transformation of education in SA can be viewed in the same light as that of government; where the nationalist policy was succeeded by democracy. “Education promoted the agenda of ensuring that there was no integration of the South African population,” he said of the past.

“Simply put, in SA, the black person was denied, and deprived of, human rights,” he added. Nonetheless, the declaration of human rights as enshrined in our constitution, and the conviction held by lobby groups, such as the Black Sash, that the young should seek and receive education led to transformation within the education sector.

Although that transformation has been accomplished, poverty continues to hinder access to education. Approximately 80% of the black students in higher education are from poor families, meaning that their parents are unable to fund the completion of their studies. Financial exclusion then translates to social exclusion, which relegates these underprivileged students into narrow enclaves. This results in a counter-transformation situation as a consequence.

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