EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT WITH IMMENSE POWER TO TRANSFORMATION. (ON ITS FOUNDATION REST THE CORNERSTONES OF FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, AND SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT)
Neither weep nor laugh – Spinoza
Programme Director, let us take this opportunity to convey our message of appreciation to the leadership of this branch for planning and organizing this political school and inviting us today to be part of it so that we can share our thoughts and knowledge with the community of the Nelson Mandela Region on this historical day.
Comrades, part of our task and responsibility as leadership is to understand what is happening around us in our society so that we can respond and provide the necessary leadership required at certain moments. In order for us to fulfil this task we need to use the correct tools of analysis that would enable us to scan the environment and navigate in moments of turbulence and progress. Also, this task is important because it must inform the decisions we take. History is full of life lessons that have shown us that the decisions we take as leadership in our various position of power in some moments have a potential of causing a humanitarian crisis.
Programme Director, before we deal with the subject of the day, let us pause and take time to reflect on what is currently unfolding globally.
It is often said that the first causality of war is the truth. The disinformation or information war unfolding in the current confrontation taking place in eastern Europe has made it difficult to make an honest assess of what is really happening on the ground.
Firstly, it should be clear and noted that no one wants war, it is not something that is desirable for human development and progress. That is why we must support the clarion call for mediation made by the President, on behalf of South Africa, because it is through continuous dialogue and negotiations that Ukraine and Russia will be able to end social, economic and political devastation; most importantly, this is absolutely not in the interest of the working class and the majority citizen of Ukraine or Russia.
However, whilst it may not be possible to make a concrete assessment of what is happening on the ground, there are notable events which we should carefully examine.
The continuous expansion programme of NATO towards eastern Europe, which the Russians have for years warned that it is threatening their security and sovereignty and might lead to a confrontation, has certainly cause this humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Europe.
It is also quite clear that in a time of war those who control and owners of means of production can use the Forth Estate to drive a narrative and disseminate the information that they deem necessary in order to advance a particular agenda or to uphold and inoculate society with certain values and principles in their favor. They carry out this orchestrated plan without any ounce of shame or objectivity instead they conscious misinform the public.
The hypocrisy displayed by of the west in relation to what is current taking place in eastern Europe is shocking. When Israel is constantly displacing and killing Palestine people they do not see a hostile aggressive country but a nation that is protecting itself; when the USA and Britain go to Iraq on the fall pretext that there are chemical wars, they don’t call for the international community to sign petitions in order to send the President of USA(responsible at the time) and the Prime Minister of Britain (responsible at the time) to face criminally charges and be prosecuted at the Hague; when the American leave Afghanistan people in limbo after years of bombardment and destruction; when senseless sanctions are impose on Cuba that are meant to isolate the people of Cuba from the rest of the world and force citizen to agitated for discontent in order to call for a different economic system, they don’t see any political interference or threat pose by the USA on the sovereignty of Cuba.
But miraculously, they can see all that is wrong in the context of Russia as it seeks to stop NATO from its expansion plan towards the far east of Europe – as this is seen as threat to the national security and sovereignty of Russia.
They have now also mobilized the sporting fraternity, a thing we have not seen in the past when there were vicious attacks on the Palestine people or in Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, recently, when there was a campaign against racism sport was not use as a platform of peace, it was the Black players who took a stand carried the campaign.
The west must not impose on us and the rest of the world a morale or how we must think.
On the other hand, this is a moment to scrutinize whether can there be any stability under a world order dominated by the west. They have brought us to this crisis and are further deepening it with sanctions that, in an interdependent global economy, will certainly affect everyone.
We now have gas, oil, wheat, fertilizer prices going up.
Interestingly, some western allies have not instituted sanctions in relation to oil or gas coming from Russia, because they are aware of this factor of interdependency and how it will affect them if they were to take a reckless decision.
Our national budget is still affect by the covid19 pandemic; as a result of this pandemic government had to redirect funds, reduce funding, borrow money from the IMF in order to carry out its constitutional mandate and cushion those with out any means to provide food(hence the 350) this meant that government departments had to also adjust their spending and as a result some services or programmes were not delivered or executed. now we have another crisis, this time a human engineered crisis, as a result of the NATO irresponsible decisions of expansion towards the east in Europe, which in the last analysis has led to an increase in prices of fossil fuel, wheat and fertilizer.
This, if it carries on has a potential to put addition strain on our budget. Our government will be forced to subsidize the majority of south African citizen who might not be able to buy some commodities; this means that government might have to go to international markets or institutions and borrow additional money.
As we have learnt from the structural adjustment programmes, the more we borrow the less we say on determining our national agenda as a nation in order to address poverty and our historical structural challenges, that is to say, the more we acquire debt the more we threaten our sovereignty.
Is it not time for BRICS to look into how we can be sustainable with some relative reduction of our reliance on the western markets, which by the way have always put us in a cycle of destruction that have interrupted the human development and progress?
Comrades, let us also take this opportunity to welcome the President’s initiative in ensuring that there is stability in the Judiciary by making sure that there is a democratic process to fill in the vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice, which is now under the leadership of Judge Zondo. Also, we must congratulate Judge Zondo on the work done in relation to the State Capture report which is now a source of reference in many of SIU cases that have been investigated with some relative success leading to the return of public funds or resources that have been stolen.
A BRIEF RECOLLECTION OF OUR HISTORY
Comrades, we are also here to reflect and celebrate 28 years of democracy. We have come a long way from fighting and resisting the dispossession of our land and cattle for more than 200 years until we were defeated just after the mid-19th century (1860) which gave the British and Boers a chance to consolidate power that led to the 1910 union that only recognized the rights of white people and denied the rights of Black people. In response to this chiefs, delegations from religious leaders and other relevant prominent stakeholders came together and decide to form the ANC in 1912. Between 1912 and 1994 the ANC had 82 years of organizing and leading the majority of citizens in this country. In this period the ANC worked towards ensuring a united democratic country through:
§ organizing a united democratic front
§ resistance protests
§ tactics and strategies that include relative use of arms and targeted sabotage on key infrastructure of the oppressive regime
§ international campaigns
§ sending its comrades all over the world to acquire skill, training and knowledge on healthcare, social and economic development and on military training,
§ awaking the consciousness of the masses
§ most importantly, patiently learning and educating the masses about the nature and character of the regime and what was therefore necessary as a lasting solution.
All this multifaceted approach yielded the necessary result that led to the fall of the oppressive regime between 1990 – 1993 and the raise of people’s power that was historically marked by the national elections that took place in 1994. Subsequently, in 1996, an ANC led government led a process that ensured the adoption of an important document – the constitution – that would shape our democracy and be the basis from which the south African government derive its broader mandate.
Comrades, it should be noted that our history did not start in 1652, but because of time we have just briefly highlighted were we come from; also, it is important to note that a thorough understanding of our entire history is understood better through the materialistic conception of our history, within our global society.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE SO FAR?
Since 1994 the ANC has work tirelessly to build an inclusive government to foster social cohesion and unity. To ensure justice, accountability, transparency and efficient and effective delivery of services and goods, we have created three arms of the state: the Judiciary, Parliament, and the Executive. Which all derive their broader mandate from the Constitution. Subsequently, we have created the necessary systems and policies to ensure that we have the following:
§ Chapter 9 institution to ensure accountable and the protection of human rights;
§ Economic investment to create jobs and job opportunities;
§ Responded to social security with social grants with beneficiaries that more than 20 million, as an interim measure;
§ hospitals, housing, water and electricity to restore people’s dignity;
§ an environment conducive to ensure food security;
§ logistical network to ensure goods and services can reach people in remote areas and also to connect people;
§ a conducive environment for people to freely express their ideas and identity;
§ necessary policies and systems in place to export or import goods and services; we have also created an environment for any south African to connect with the world and exchange ideas and culture (hence we have people importing or exporting culture through cinema, art, literature, music and clothing industry);
§ schools and universities
Any nation knows that education is a key component in developing its society, in fact without putting the necessary resources in terms of providing efficient quality ECDs, quality infrastructure for schools, providing skilled and trained personnel, providing quality ICT infrastructure and science labs and other tool necessary to enable quality teaching and learning, providing a well-functioning nutrition programme and ensuring a functioning school management team and school governing body, we would not achieve much or realize the vision outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) or Provincial Development Plan (PDP). On the other hand, it is not enough to have all the required quality resources without a politically guided and data informed vision, hence there is a reciprocal relationship between the two.
In our attempt to align the billions of funds allocated to department of education (that are meant to ensure access to education and improve the quality of teaching & learning) with the vision of the PDP and the NDP, we have through a consultative process formulated the Education Systems Transformation Plan which has four pillars that focus on the following:
• Drive high performance culture.
• Accelerate implementation of Service Delivery Model.
• Monitor & evaluate implementation of Learner Attainment Improvement Strategy.
Implement 3-Streams Model with a focus on:
• Ocean’s economy
• Travel & tourism
• Auto Sector
• Renewable energy
• Early Childhood Development
4th Industrial Revolution
• Encourage innovation
• Implement productivity enhancements
• Upscale e-Learning
• Integrate e-Administration
Inclusive Education & Social Cohesion
• Promote a paradigm of inclusivity in all schools
• Implement SIAS
• Capacity Building
A crucial part of the Education Systems Transformation Plan is a focus on the development of ECD. Currently we are in a process of shifting ECDs from the department of social development to the department of education understands, this is an important move because sustainable quality education is built on strong foundations. The department must therefore take full responsibility of ECDs.
The most crucial stage of human development takes place at an embryonic level, from the time a baby is born to 1000 days of his/her growth and development.
This is a very important stage in the process of human development because it is in this stage that the human brain, nervous system and senses are simultaneously developing. If we are to truly liberate people and secure the future of sustainable human development, we must provide all the necessary resources to ensure that children grow up in a safe environment, are provide with the right nutrition, and ensure that they are provided with the necessary learning material and resources in order to ensure that they reach the optimal level of development.
This also means that, besides the department of education, there are a number of key role players in the development of a child and protecting his/her right, the parents and community play a key role in developing a learner; whilst on the other hand, there are also sister departments like the social development and safety and liaison meant to ensure a safe environment. It is quite clear that the silo mentally will not enable us to achieve and realize true freedom, democracy and sustainable development.
In addition, numerous studies have indicated that children that learn in their mother tongue from an early age have a better advantage of performing well in the later stage of their schooling years and have a better chance of a prosperous future. It is part of this reason that the department has been championing the Mother Tongue Language Education.
Learners who learn in their mother tongue take less time to comprehend what is being taught, this enable them to access information and knowledge at the same rate as White or Afrikaners students who have had the opportunity to be taught in their mother tongue for years now. In fact, part of the success rate of our fellow white learners in education in this country it is because of this factor of language. Language enables a learner to participate in school activities with confidence and levels the playing field. We are happy to announce that this project, which started in the Eastern Cape will now be a national project as pronounced by the Minister of Education – Cde Angie Motshekga.
As we have pointed out earlier, in order to achieve sustainable development and the visions outlined in the NDP and PDP, the department has introduced and invested on maritime studies, agricultural schools and robotics. This are some of the key stream that will enable the theatre of knowledge production to produce learners that would have the prerequisite skills to later participate in the oceans economy and gain an understanding what mineral resources we can get out of the ocean for economic benefit; to participate in the agricultural sector and ensure food security, to participate in the fourth Industrial Revolution and take advantage of the many opportunities within this sphere so that we can maximize the potential of our economy.
We are also investing on resources (personnel, equipment and study guides) that will enable these studies to take place in an efficient and effective manner.
Also, it is important to protect and promote our indigenous knowledge, this way we are planning to provide the necessary support through our research centers and science centers like the Albertina Sisulu Science Center in Cofimvaba.
Lastly, because of scarce resources and endless budget cuts we need to strengthen our social compact and ensure we get the necessary funds or resources we need. Whilst ensuring that we have SLA that do not undermine our strategic mission and vision.
WHAT WE MUST RESOLVE IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT WE PROTECT OUR HISTORICAL GAINS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The Eastern Cape PTT recently met and made some reflections out of the Diagnostic Report. The report was presented at the 5th National Policy Conference, it indicated that the decline and our challenges are multi-faceted and manifest in several weaknesses, which include: “the blurring of the common purpose for the cadres of the movement; the growing trust deficit between the people and their movement; the impact of the perception of the ANC as entirely corrupt; the decline in the ideological outlook of the movement and the divisions and factions that have become a seemingly permanent feature of the movement.”
The report went further to isolate a few key aspects that needed urgent attention as
a. Blurring of the common purpose for the cadres of the movement
b. The growing trust deficit between the people and their movement
c. The decline in the ethics, values and traditions of the movement
d. The impact of the perception of the ANC as entirely corrupt
e. The poor quality of the branches and the membership in general
f. The decline in the ideological outlook of the movement
g. Divisions and factions that have become a seemingly permanent feature of the
As instructed by the the 54th National Conference, as members of the organisation we have a greater responsibility to work together and unite the African National Congress to ensure that the gains and human rights we have fought for are protected.
I thank you