Cape Town – Education Minister Angie Motshekga has urged young people to be the best that they can be as the country’s future depends on them.
She said government has invested the lion’s share of the national budget towards education, and that learners must ensure that the investment in them reaps good returns.
The Minister said this when she interacted with learners, principals, teachers, lecturers and parents at Sophumelela High School in Phillipi, Western Cape, on Saturday.
“The President passed the budget. The biggest chunk of that budget went to education and why? Because of you. It is not an accident that we are investing in education because we know by investing in you, we are investing in the future of this country.
“And therefore, it is very important for you to make that investment very worthwhile because if you fail, you don’t only fail for yourself, you fail for all of us and that is why we are investing so much money in you because you are our future,” she said.
The Minister’s visit to the school was part of a nationwide National Development Plan (NDP) post-SONA Back-to-School Imbizo, aimed at sending a message to citizens that education is a leading priority for government.
Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Minister went on the road in different parts of the country on Saturday to engage members of the public – especially learners, teachers, parents and student governing bodies (SGBs) – on issues affecting the education sector.
The imbizo also gave parents and learners a platform to engage with their leaders and raise their concerns and challenges when it comes to the education of their children.
The Minister said education was the only instrument that learners can use to build a future for themselves.
“There are instruments that make you the best that you can be and one of those instruments is education,” she said.
Parents, teachers commended for their contribution
Meanwhile, the Minister used the imbizo to thank parents for being involved in schooling and teaching at the school.
She said the parents, amongst other things, make themselves available to come to the school to supervise learners after school while they do their homework.
“These kids are a national asset. They are a national asset to all of us and when they succeed, we are all successful,” she said.
Minister Motshekga also thanked parents for using their Saturday to attend the imbizo.
“I am very proud of you to come here on a Saturday and interact with us and talk to us about education issues.”
The last time the Minister came to the school was when she handed over newly-refurbished classrooms as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme.
She said she was happy to see that after handing over the school, it had been well-maintained.
“I came to open the school in 2014, and I am very proud that I am here today and this school is still clean and well maintained.
“As government it is difficult. We are trying to invest in schools infrastructure and that is why I get very encouraged to see a school that we have given to you still in a good condition.”
Learners urged to look after themselves, focus on schooling
The Minister urged learners to stay away from trouble, including substance abuse and sex, saying they need to worry about their school work and succeed before focussing their attention on dating.
She said HIV and teen pregnancies are some of the challenges that persist in schools, and added that young people should protect themselves from infections.