16 FEBRUARY 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RE: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SONA DATE DOES LITTLE TO ELIMINATE THE UNRELENTING QUESTIONS SURROUNDING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF FEE-FREE EDUCATION FROM THE MINDS OF YOUNG SOUTH AFRICANS.
The postponement and uncertainty surrounding the 2018 State of the Nation Address sidelined the long awaited answers to certain issues around the implementation of fee-free education that was announced by former President Jacob Zuma in 2017.
The 2018 SONA will take place today and the youth of South Africa will be watching with their eyes wide open. The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network has a lot to say, considering the fact that 82% of the young people in this network voted in the previous election, their uncensored voices need to be heard. These are young citizens who contribute significantly to the economy as 30% of them have started their own NGOs and 36% are working on projects around improving employability. Here are young people with the power to influence communities, development and the economy. Their only appeal is that they not be excluded in matters that affect their quest to improve the state of their education.
Previous SONAs have been inadequate in addressing issues such as youth economic participation; skills development programmes; post matric opportunities and the absorption of graduates into the job market. They also failed to follow-up on strategic approaches to fee-free higher education while faced with the dismal state of basic education in areas like the Eastern Cape and Limpopo which are perceived as impoverished.
In an attempt to find answers to the implementation of fee-free education, on the 18th of January 2018 @ActivateZA hosted the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Buti Manamela, in a live Twitterchat where he was to answer some pressing questions around the implementation of fee-free education. The most prominent question were about university registration and fees. Having had their applications to institutions of higher education accepted, the students were left at a loss on how to proceed as they had not received any communication from NSFAS and there has been no public pronouncement on how free education would be implemented. A portion of these young people showed unreserved concern about the fact that this free education will only apply to first year students while they were the ones who were at the center of the “fees must fall” movement.
With yesterday’s swearing in of president Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the A! network is expressing diverse sentiment around what his presidency will mean for the youth of South Africa. Some Activators are “hoping for more investment into the country that will create jobs and uplift the standard of entrepreneurship for the youth,” other Activators showed concern that the “children of Marikana miners have to bow down to the man who killed their fathers.”
The ACTIVATE! youth has voiced their opinions on what they think the president ought to address under the youth section, in his SONA speech. More can be heard on: https://www.sendspace.com/file/h55jvb
ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society.
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