South Africa is officially experiencing a third wave with the Gauteng Education Department confirming they are experiencing a massive increase in the number of learners testing positive for COVID-19. Likewise, schools in the Northern Cape schools have recorded an increase in coronavirus infections at schools with over 300 COVID-19 cases just last week alone. Notwithstanding this Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department does not have any plans to close schools any time soon.
During this crucial third wave, we have a caretaker Health Minister due to the current minister being on special leave amidst allegations of Covid-19 looting. More troubling was the minister’s confirmation of irregular spending at all nine provincial health departments over the last five years. This despite many learners, particularly in rural areas, rely on hazardous pit toilets that do not provide privacy nor promote health and hygiene. Cry our beloved country as there are still 4000 schools using pit toilets.
Much has been written about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with stakeholders emphasizing the importance of data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (Al), and Machine Learning (ML) abilities, resulting in a shift in graduate competencies. Nonetheless a few tweets of Elon Musk’s, knocked out billions of dollars off the cryptocurrency markets. A sobering reminder for the youth that wealth creation must be supported by solid principles.
Education, the key to success
Before the pandemic, the youth were already in crisis, and the COVID-19 epidemic has further disrupted the daily routines of millions of youths globally, with mandatory social distancing, repeated lockdowns, and the closure of educational institutes.
Despite all of the challenges above, our youth are resilient and manage to live productive and effective lives, thereby demonstrating their inherent resilience. We salute you.