Despite being a basic human right, education is still not accessible for all in the country; in fact, there is still vast inequality when it comes to schooling. We shouldn’t forget that we are 23 years into a democratic South Africa and that righting the wrongs of the past needs to be accelerated in order to truly combat the extensive apartheid hangover, for both individuals and the society in which they find themselves.
Needless to say, tertiary education is the fundamental source of empowerment, upliftment and, ultimately, transformation (both economic and societal). Moreover, it has the potential to bring significant benefits to individuals and society, which go well beyond its contribution to individuals’ employability and, in turn, income.
For starters, educated citizens provide economic benefits to society at large, because they have the knowledge and skills to execute higher level jobs. What’s more, because business owners are affected by supply and demand of highly qualified workers, it means that extremely capable and talented people often have to vie for the same role and getting the best person to do a particular job benefits those who need that specific service. Consequently, improved rates of employment and income eventually benefit the community. Numerous studies have also revealed that better education and stable employment also minimises crime risks in communities.
Those with higher education degrees or diplomas are more likely to get jobs that offer medical aid benefits. In addition to having the option to get their family members covered as well, access to healthcare eventually contributes to lessening the outbreak or spread of disease in communities.
Staying with the bigger picture: environmental awareness and responsibility are often imparted on those who pursue higher education. From recycling to water conservation consciousness, communities benefit when citizens take on individual responsibility for their surroundings.
Not to mention, research has found that young tertiary graduates are also more likely to not only vote, but have informed opinions about which party they are voting for. This is so crucial since Government plays such a large role in affecting the lives of those under its rule.
But it all starts with accessible education. As the Council for Higher Education points out: “The priority of the democratic state should be to substantively redistribute resources, to assign a critical role to universities in producing educated, well-rounded, Dewey-type citizens, and constantly reiterate the empowering quality of democratic society for those historically marginalized. The social conditions of those worst-off under Apartheid, the conditions and the struggles of the past are fore-grounded. Education, according to this standpoint, must contribute to the radical, not reformist, transformation of society”.
FEES FOR ALL, a registered non-profit organisation, believes in the power of education to transform lives and encourages individuals to donate towards school fees for learners who need it the most. For more information, feel free to read more about how to make a contribution.