Education Dialogue

About This Project





A key objective of the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation is to promote and popularise the legacy of its honourees, who devoted virtually their entire adult lives to the fight for the liberation of South Africa. The series is anchored on O.R Tambo’s attributes as a social justice advocate, a strategic thinker, a prolific document developer and a formidable debater. Better known for maintaining the unity of the ANC as its President in tough conditions of exile, OR Tambo recognised diplomacy, discussion and debate, both nationally and internationally, as vital ingredients in the building of a democracy. It is, therefore, fitting that we encourage the O.R Tambo spirit of debate and dialogue in his quest to deliver a democratic society that is just, open, inclusive and equitable. In honour of his legacy, the implementation of the National Development Plan has been recognised as a suitable and compellingly urgent topic of exploration and discussion.


On the 26th of September, the 5th instalment of the series was presented by the Tambo Foundation, and ABSA, and was hosted by the University of the Free State. The topic: Educating Africa’s Future: How are we faring in providing young Africans with the requisite quality education and skills that will expand their capacity, thinking and expertise to enable them to become more meaningful contributors in the development of this continent?


The panel consisted of:

  • Dr Pali Lehohla – Statistician-General of the Republic of South Africa.
  • Prof Peliwe Lolwana – Associate Professor at Wits University’s Centre for Researching Education and Labour.
  • Mr Mabu Raphotle, Research and Skills Planning Senior Manager, ETDP SETA
  • Sikhululekile Luwaca – Former UFS SRC President
  • Ms Linda Vilakazi – CEO of the Tambo Foundation


Using a research note written by Dr Linda Zuze, the discussion was facilitated by Phiwe Mathe – Media Officer in the Office of the Chief Whip of the Free State Legislature and former UFS SRC President.


Questions and further input into the dialogue from the audience

  1. The first issues raised was that it was true that graduates from TVET institutions struggled to find employment and laid the blame on the poor content they were taught, which made them unemployable. The question was therefore raised as to when this critical shortcoming would be addressed and how our education system would ever decolonise as it obviously was not preparing graduates for the real world of work and industry which South Africa faced.
  2. The second issue raised was then when the younger generation tried to take agency or be what the NDP called ‘Active Citizens’ in trying to find solutions, educational institutions interpreted this incorrectly and tried to limit this agency. How would the younger generation then take responsibility for their own education when this happened?
  3. The third issue raised was that Black African students in particular struggled in institutions of higher learning when the funder of the bursary only provided funding for tuition and not for the other day to day living and academic expenses they were faced with. Statistics on how many Black African students struggled with this should be generated in order that better awareness amongst funders could be raised.
  4. The fourth issue raised was in relation to how the younger generation would be able to address the Intra-Africa trade and development issue if systems of trade between African countries were still dominated by Colonial and Slave processes of control
  5. The fifth issue raised related to understanding how we were going to instil a love for learning and teaching amongst educators if it seemed this was largely lacking and if it seemed that the Unions had too much control over educators
  6. It was agreed by the audience that the issue of language was problematic, not only in schooling, but in further and higher education as well. A majority of students were not English first language speakers and hence they struggled to succeed in a system which geared its notion of success based on your command of English.
  7. With regards the question raised as to whether government was listening and working to address the challenges, it was highlighted that government realised that the challenges in education were not limited to the education sector, but that various other shortcomings in society played themselves out across sectors. For example, the challenge of conflict in society was played out not only in families, but also in communities, in schools and in universities. Hence government was trying to find a holistic approach to these challenges as well.
  8. On this point, it was also raised that government should also bring in the younger generation in the attempt to find solutions, policies and programmes to the challenges. It was not good enough for only the older generation to be attempting to find solutions to the challenges of the younger generation.
  9. The issue of free, decolonised, quality and compulsory education was raised as being something that needed urgent attention and buy-in from all parties
  10. This then raised the questions with regards how education should be funded, with various models of taxation being put forward for discussion, but with the dialogue ending on the understanding that the funding of education could not be resolved without the issue of industrial development and employment also being addressed.


Download the post-debate Report




[justified_image_grid rml_id=41]





26 September 2017


Albert Wessels Auditorium, University of Free State, Bloemfontein

2017, Debates & Dialogues, NDP Debate & Dialogue Series, Projects