As many South Africans understand, youth month holds historical significance when it comes to the country’s education system. With the month that serves to commemorate the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprisings drawing to a close, senior officials from the Higher Education sector reflect on what it means to empower the youth through education.
During a televised interview, the University of South African (Unisa)’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Puleng LenkaBula said that over 40 years have passed since the historical event of justified defiance against racial discrimination in schools.
With this in mind, it’s very important at this point to emphasise the value of education to align with president Mandela’s assertion that education is very important because it empowers children of farmers or mine workers to ensure that they become owners of production.
The professor also went on to point out that education is not only for fostering productive citizens but is also a means to allow the youth to express their voices in shaping the future that they want to be a part of.
She added that this is particularly the case in the current context of the fourth industrial revolution.
It’s even more important that they not only acquire critical learning skills but also must ensure that they lend their digital systems and the digital skills that are necessary for participating in the future economy, which is one of the critical things that the universities such as the University of South Africa do.
LenkaBula also went on to say the role of the youth, in particular, has been expressed through Unisa’s annual programme: the Young Academic Leadership study, which is comprised of various partnerships across the continent
Through this initiative, the professor further states that the university brings together students from the continent who learn about leadership and also tries to ensure that they communicate and participate within their communities.