JZ extols pluses of education
President Jacob Zuma says if all power were vested in him and no restrictions were placed on his authority there would not be a single uneducated person in South Africa in the next 30 years. Zuma told pupils and parents of Marhulana Primary School in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, yesterday that he would prioritise education "to the point of obsession".The ANC leader advised pupils to "study to get employment", impressing on them to "study to attain knowledge" as well."I've said this before, if it were up to me education would be more than compulsory. If it were up to me there would be very strict conditions."I would make sure that in the next 30 years there would be no uneducated person in South Africa. There would be forced education."The president also chided parents for abdicating their responsibilities towards their children.While his utterances are likely to spark controversy, Zuma explained that he was pained by the perilous state of education in the country.He said his preoccupation with the subject was driven by the knowledge of the burden the lack of education placed on many South African homes.Zuma said it was important to educate young people, saying failure to do so would spell trouble later in life. Young people could not be allowed to grow into uneducated adults "who sponged off their grandmothers' pensions"."You can't let a young person commit mistakes that will hold them back later in life. We are trying to develop our young people. Without education you become a burden to society. Education helps you avoid such things," he said to the hundreds of students gathered in a tent on the school grounds.Zuma appealed to them to take education seriously. The fate of the country and its ability to reach its objectives depended on it, he said."The government has many plans which need educated people to implement them."Zuma used yesterday's visit to pay homage to Nelson Mandela, who was known for his love for education."Today we are also celebrating that vision Madiba started in 1994 of providing free healthcare and education is being taken forward. Our government has worked hard to fulfil the vision of the Freedom Charter, which says that the doors of learning and culture shall be opened. This is why over 80% of our schools are now no-fee schools."We are also aware that some of the learners used to drop out of school because of hunger. Our government addressed this through the national school nutrition programme, where children receive food at schools, " said Zuma.