President Cyril Ramaphosa says education remains the most effective tool in bridging the chasm of inequality in South Africa.
“It is through education that we can realise the goal of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society,” President Ramaphosa said.
He was speaking at the graduation ceremony at the University of Mpumalanga in Mbombela on Saturday, as the first Chancellor of the university.
“It is through education that we can give full expression to the rights enshrined in our Constitution. Our society still bears the scars of its divided past.
“In education, we are still grappling with the legacy of a deeply unequal and racially divided system. From the beginning of the 20th century, the struggle of our people for equal and quality education was indistinguishable from the struggle for freedom,” President Ramaphosa said.
When other terrains of struggle were shut down, schools and universities became centres of resistance and defiance.
“It is one of our major tasks as a democratic South Africa to build schools and universities that become centres of excellence and enlightenment.
“We must build institutions that equip students with the skills and capabilities to thrive in a modern economy and the consciousness to contribute to a better society. We must build institutions that enable graduates to compete in a global arena and to face a rapidly-changing future with confidence.
“Our universities and colleges must respond to the conditions under which people live. They must respond to the reality that millions of our people still live in poverty,” President Ramaphosa said.
He called on those who were graduating to use their qualifications to expand their possibilities to earn a living and to build a career.
“You will work hard to improve your life and the lives of those around you. You will be part of a new generation of skilled young South Africans building a new inclusive economy.
“As you enter this new world, you must know that your families, your communities and your country have invested much in you. We are seeking to build a society that is founded on integrity, honesty, compassion and solidarity.”
More than 200 students were awarded degrees and diplomas. – SAnews.gov.za