Johannesburg, 2 February 2000
Master of Ceremonies, Justice Mokgoro
Director of the Ithuteng Trust, Mrs, Jacky Maarohanye
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am honoured to be here today as we celebrate the achievements of our forty young men and women who have made us all proud through their hard work and determination.
Their success in also our success, for it makes a positive contribution to larger national efforts in developing our skills base and human resources in order to build a skilled South African nation that can compete on an equal footing with the rest of the world.
Here before us today stand the future leaders, entrepreneurs, thinkers, innovators and creators who must see to it that our country prospers and that the 21st Century is indeed the Century for sustained African development. Here are the men and women who must use their practical wisdom to address the immense challenges that lie ahead, and who must ensure that our future generations can flower.
Their success – and our success – is thanks largely to the excellent work of the Ithuteng Trust. Those in the Ithuteng Trust have come up with innovative and creative ways in which to address the problems in education and society at large.
Here is proof that educators, teachers, learners and the community can come together and work in firm partnership to bring back a real culture of learning and teaching into our schooling. Here is also the strong message that this successful partnership can be reproduced elsewhere in the country; that the seeds of success can be spread far and wide by those who understand and have benefited from the new approach.
The forty graduates we have here today demonstrate that when we instil students with positive values, a sense of responsibility, sound behaviour, the discipline which is so important in a learning environment, we have a winning formula that guarantees triumph over hardships.
The approach of the Ithuteng Trust is a holistic one; the old barriers between teacher, learner and community are broken in a way which each one begins to understand that the real schoolbook on which all our attention is focused is the schoolbook of life and our collective task is to improve the quality of life of all our people.
In this way, we come to the realisation that through education we can and must address the problems of lawlessness and crime; that we need to lead our youth into correct and appropriate forms of behaviour and into taking responsibility for themselves and their future actions through showing them the consequences of criminality and the dangers of crime to everyone around them.
The work of the Ithuteng Trust confirms that the way forward in education must be that the place of learning itself becomes a multi-purpose centre, where education is also seen in its broader sense of community development, of addressing social problems such as crime, of returning reality to our schools and our lives, in this way, inculcating in our youth a worldview of caring and accountability.
In this recipe for success, it is not the learners alone who are being encouraged to learn and be respectful. Parents too have their part to play in creating conditions for the exchange of knowledge, in playing active roles in school governing bodies, in providing strategic direction in the development of schools.
Educators must be motivated and skilled with a knowledge of their subject areas coupled with a broader understanding of socio-economic development in the community in which they teach and the needs of the country as a whole. Educators must be reminded of the positions they occupy as primary role models for their pupils. Discipline for the learner within the learning environment is achieved only if teachers show disciplined behaviour, the principals are disciplined, and the parents act accordingly. The students who stand before us today have excelled not only in their academic work, but in the community and society at large. For they have learnt from luminaries like Dr. Kambule that the pursuit of knowledge must be linked with the needs of a society; that knowledge itself, while it brings individual self-fulfilment and enrichment, also has a direct societal responsibility. I have heard that you have been given career guidance and made aware of skills potential and career opportunities, exposed to various positive role models; and that there is also assistance in placing students at tertiary institutions for further study. I have also heard that you have visited a prison, spent a day with prisoners and as a result arrived at a deeper understanding of the repercussions of crime. In this way, the Ithuteng Trust has also made students aware of what career paths to avoid. Many of you have agreed to come back to the project during holidays so as to impart and share your knowledge with other students.
There are those among you who will be spreading the work of the Ithuteng Trust to the Northern Province and those who when they received more than one bursary offered to share with those who had received nothing.
This is the spirit of sharing and co-operation, a willingness to learn from others and in turn to pass on one’s learning to others that we have needed so much in our country; this is the kind of learning environment where there is mutual accountability and responsibility that we need for a well-functioning system of education.
I think we should thank the leaders of this project, Mrs. Jacky Maarohanye, Dr. kambule and the entire team for their inspirational work and for their selfless dedication to the task of moulding your youth.
In the first decade of its existence, the Ithuteng Trust has been involved in meeting a range of educational needs, which includes serving the literacy needs for domestic workers, the unemployed, those in informal sectors and in rural areas, upgrading the skills of workers and rehabilitation through education for prisoners. Your vast project, and especially the work you are doing with the youth, is a model for all others to follow.
With a project like this one, I am confident that indeed we can reach our goal of making the 21st century the century for sustained African development and for attaining all the objectives of the African renaissance.
I wish to congratulate our forty graduates who have made us proud and wish them well in their future studies. You have taken the right road to reach your drams and no doubt you will continue along this path by contributing to the development of our country.
I thank you