Address delivered by the Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,
at the Third Annual Julius Nyerere Memorial Lecture, at the University of the
Western Cape, Library Auditorium
Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian O'Connell,
Rector Academic Affairs, Professor Stan Ridge,
Vice Rector Students Affairs,
Tanzanian High Commissioner, His Excellency, Emmanuel Mwambulukutu,
of the academic staff and students,
Family of S Walters,
It has been said that the benefits of Adult Education "are
by no means universal neither are they negligible" which presupposes that
the results and benefits from adult education depend on an integrated effort.
It means that adult learning should not take place in isolation.
to be an integral part of improving the quality of life of adults, youths, families
and communities. It has to respond to real needs.
We meet here today to
honour one of the finest politicians and elder statesmen to have emerged out of
the African continent, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, says one African intellectual,
Professor Ali Mazrui who described Nyerere with the following words:
global terms he was one of the giants of the 20th Century... He did bestride this
narrow world like an African colossus." (page 9, Nyerere And Africa: End
of an Era - Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere 1922 - 1999, President of Tanzania,
Godfrey Mwakikagile, 2002, Protea Publishing, United States)
One of his
biographers also pays tribute to Nyerere by saying he was: "A towering intellectual,
and a paragon of virtue, he had profound insight and highly analytical skills
and knew exactly what he wanted to do for Tanzania and for Africa as a whole.
Yet he was not without fault, and admitted his mistakes, unlike most leaders who
see that as a sign of weakness and not an attribute of leadership." (page
8, Nyerere And Africa: End of an Era - Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere 1922
- 1999, President of Tanzania, Godfrey Mwakikagile, 2002, Protea Publishing, United
He was one of the most consistent campaigners for education that
improves basic conditions of people, his approach to education was for education
to be an integral part of community life - the Ujamaa villages were such an attempt.
However, they did not come without controversy.
Mwalimu Nyerere as he was
affectionately known by his people came from that pioneering generation of African
leaders, who led struggles against colonialism and imperialism, who led their
countries to independence from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Among such luminaries
are leaders who left unparalleled legacies like Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Jomo Kenyatta
(Kenya), Patrice Lumumba (Congo) and Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia) and our own Oliver
Tambo just to mention a few.
They led the struggles for the emancipation
of Africa at a time when the world was divided into two bi-polar positions by
the Cold War between the East and the West. The challenges of rebuilding their
countries from the ravages of colonialism were enormous beyond belief. But their
achievements were significant.
Julius Nyerere was one of the most influential
leaders in the twentieth century, and his death in October 1999 marked an end
of a political career that spanned almost half a century. It also meant an end
of an era of the African founding fathers who led their countries to independence
in the sixties. At the time he passed away he had left Africa with a rich legacy
in humanism, modesty and humility, all invaluable lessons for our continent.
a time when Africa was plagued by dictatorships, corrupt leaders and leaders who
overstayed their welcome in power, Nyerere showed the way by stepping down from
being a President of his country without people having had to force him out of
power. That was an important lesson for all those who believe in democracy.
my generation every young person who was ever an idealist, who dared to dream
about a better Africa, about the role of education in liberation had to know about
this great African - agree or disagree with him but you could not ignore his ideas
or be indifferent to the originality of his thoughts - the passion for pro-poor
policies and the painfully simple but not simplistic ways with which he approached
even very complex issues.
Speaking to students at the University of Dar
es Salaam he once described Tanzania as a country under siege from poverty and
the university students represent the emissaries on whom the whole society invest
and give everything so that they can go and get help to rescue the nation. They
are sent out to seek help out of the siege he said. If they go and not come back
with help, the nation dies under the siege, and that will be after giving all
the nation has to the emissaries.
I think those of us who are fortunate
to have higher education even in South Africa, are indeed emissaries. We need
to think about our responsibility to resource the nation both in small and in
big ways and to rescue our people from the siege. So ours is not a small contribution.
As a committed Pan-Africanist, Nyerere provided a home for a number of
African liberation movements including the African National Congress (ANC) and
the Pan African Congress (PAC) of South Africa, Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo)
of Machel when seeking to overthrow Portuguese rule in Mozambique, Zimbabwe African
National Liberation Army (Zanla) of Robert Mugabe in their struggle to unseat
the white regime in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
He also opposed the
brutal regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. Following a border invasion by Amin in 1978,
a 20,000-strong Tanzanian army, along with rebel groups, invaded Uganda. It took
the capital, Kampala, in 1979, restoring Uganda's first President, Milton Obote,
to power; also not without controversy, nevertheless a remarkable show of force
by an otherwise very peaceful and loving Tanzanian people, even at war it was
a war for peace.
For some of us it is in the education arena that Nyerere's
influence and ideas have proven to be long lasting and with an enduring impact.
Indeed he will always be remembered for his efforts of linking education and the
everyday and basic needs of the people.
My own views about education as
a student of education and later as a teacher were profoundly impacted upon by
this great intellectual and educator.
In the Declaration of Dar es Salaam
Julius Nyerere made a ringing call for adult education to be directed at helping
people to help themselves and for it to be approached as part of life: 'integrated
with life and inseparable from it'. (Nyerere, 1978, page 29). For him adult education
had two functions to:
- "Inspire both a desire for change, and
an understanding that change is possible.
- "Help people to make their
own decisions, and to implement those decisions for themselves." (Nyerere,
1978, page 30)
Again bearing in mind about adult basic education
and training (ABET) that "the gains are by no means Universal neither are
they negligible!", which should mean that ABET has to be an important part
of our education and with development interventions, a tool to intercede in the
second economy and to develop and empower women. It must not be in isolation from
broader developmental interventions and the macro-economic context.
said this, I must also add that lifelong education as against literacy and adult
basic education is a much more ambitious proposition which takes on board the
concept of a learning nation.
In a country such as ours where skills shortage
and skills inadequacy is so glaring, lifelong learning must be seen as a way of
life with basic adult education as only a stepping stone, to those with any certificates
or qualifications, it has to be a way for self improvement to move from being
qualified to being able.
There is indeed a difference between being educated
in the formal sense and being productive and acquiring competencies and capabilities,
being educated does not automatically mean "you can". Qualifications
show us what learning you have been exposed to, books you have read and so on.
Ideally for education and learning to be productive it must happen together. When
it does not happen we must use lifelong learning to close the gap.
case of the Republic of South Africa, we have not made the kind of progress that
we require in ABET or lifelong learning education. There has been an increasingly
enabling environment which is yet to give us the results we so desperately need.
We all have not taken full advantage of the political environment we have created,
which does not mean I think, we have created a perfect environment but it is enabling.
The Department of Labour's qualifications framework is part of this enabling environment.
"A survey of the 1996 Census statistics shows that 4,066,187 adults
had received no schooling at all, while 3,512,415 had received some primary schooling.
Out of a population of 40,583,573, this translates into a percentage of 18,67%
persons who had very little or no schooling" (2004 : Statistics South Africa
- Stats in brief ten years of democratic governance)
"The 2001 Census
figures show that 4,567,497 adults had received no schooling at all, while 4,083,742
had received some primary schooling. Out of a population of 44,819,778, this translates
into a percentage of 19,3% persons who had very little or no schooling."
(2004: Statistics South Africa). This represents a major challenge and socio-economic
deprivation. While these statistics are not new they are very indicative.
Department of Education is working on a programme to take our work on ABET to
new and greater heights. That work will need to be integrated in the broader developmental
agenda, as part of the Integrated Developmental Plans (IDPs) and Local Economic
Development (LEDs), to achieve what is envisaged in the Nyerere dream referred
to earlier. It remains troubling that some of our Sector Education and Training
Authorities (SETAs) employees choose not to use training resources to train people
at lowest and sometimes even peripheral aspects and not for cutting edge critically
needed and relevant capabilities.
Further to that we have to lift our people
out of functional literacy to skills that make them effective and productive citizens,
who are also critical thinkers, citizens who are able to take full advantage of
opportunities in our economy and benefits of democracy. Too many South Africans
are missing out and instead they are becoming dependants of the state. Our Accelerated
and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) is much about growth as
it is about the sharing of it.
The phenomenon of unemployed graduates,
who are without abilities to self-employ and self-determine, after spending three
to four years of post secondary education is an indication to all of us of the
challenge in our education at a tertiary level.
Universities and government
have to share responsibility for this state of affairs and take corrective actions
sooner, for the emissary has gone and not brought back help. This has been the
underlying motivation for AsgiSA and the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills
Acquisition (JIPSA), in the short term to equip the emissaries. The solution lies
in large part in more fundamental institutional and curriculum reform.
has become accepted worldwide that all individuals require a sound general education
in order to participate effectively in increasingly complex social and economic
environments. A good general education is therefore no longer simply a basic human
right, but a strategic necessity, but so is lifelong learning; to give people
another chance to acquire competencies that will make them survive better, and
Lifelong learning is also not age bound so it is crucial for
the development of both young and old citizens. We cannot talk positively of a
growing economy if we cannot share the benefits of that growth. We know that the
biggest limitation to shared growth in South Africa is skills. We also know that
millions of our people have no means to tackle challenges of growth without acquiring
appropriate lifelong learning skills. Also know that you are educators and students,
and as policy makers and private sector you hold the key to this puzzle.
must move away from historically simplified adult learning that is sometimes more
sentimental than practical and equipping. We have to count the cost to individuals
of being given an education that is not relevant to the real needs of those individuals.
The poorer they are, the less they can afford the luxury of irrelevance.
disjuncture between the demand and supply in the skills and learning arena is
a luxury our country cannot afford even for the noble goal of academic freedom,
as that freedom and right comes with responsibilities and accountability in relation
to what we plough and what we reap.
It is the case with lifelong learning
which must be connected and give real change. It must assist with socio-economic
justice in a direct and simple manner, but not simplistic. The curriculum developers
are not paying enough attention to issues of relevance and ensuring that we all
pay attention to the skills and competencies learners acquire when they come out
of higher education and other training programmes, including SETAs. Government,
business and labour are all guilty.
In the Tanzania of Nyerere there was
so much poverty that it was harder to see opportunities for economic growth let
alone empowerment. In South Africa we have missed so many opportunities because
of skills. We import artisans, welders even for regular scheduled activities such
as statutory shutdowns of oil refineries. Our lifelong learning interventions
must deal with these distortions, in policy and proactive and ongoing manner.
In my language we say "Umuntu Ufunda Aze Afe", which recognises the
fact that you learn until you die.
In South Africa we have 70% of the potentially
economically active youth out of work, in poverty and under-skilled. Our lifelong
learning has to address these matters. As we speak we believe that our economy
has to grow at a minimum of 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum by
2010. If only we can get the skills alignment right and a skills revolution going.
It is in the lifelong learning arena that we can advance a significant part of
this skills revolution, in the short and medium term.
we also need a skills revolution in the curriculum of tertiary education, as well
as in the quality of public education, especially around teacher training as teachers
are becoming a scarce and priority skill in South Africa. I am referring here
mainly to teachers of mathematics and science, technology and language teachers
(including African languages teachers) in public schools. But in general the culture
of teaching, which has been significantly eroded.
In identifying growth
areas in our economy we have isolated the growth and areas in which inadequate
service provision constrains growth. These are:
limitation as a constraint
- "sectoral development: e.g.
process outsourcing (BPO)
- agriculture and agro-processing
- "Second Economy initiatives - targeted
at especially and in particular education,
- women, both in
urban and rural areas
- "service delivery, and, especially
basic services at municipal level
- "Human Resource Development (HRD)
- The biggest cross-cutting constraint.
Since the issue of appropriate
skills arises as the most constraining factor. In AsgiSA we have established the
Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) as an interim response
to deal with skills shortages. The skills that we lack and desperately need -
not to do the work of established education institutions such as schools and universities,
but work with them to deliver, are:
- engineering skills - (100 000
- planning and management skills - especially for local and provincial
governments, and education and health managers
- artisans - including welders,
plumbers and boilermakers
- teachers - in public education - in mathematics
and science - the inability to communicate by graduates has been identified by
employers as a major problem that contributes to the unemployment of graduates
skills - at the very top where experience is needed
- Information and Communication
- project managers
- finance skills - but entry level
and middle level skills are needed to avoid further shortage at the top
for growing sectors - e.g. ICT - we need about 500 000 ICT practitioners at different
levels as we speak.
Lifelong learning is very critical to the challenge
of sharing growth so we have to use it as such. South Africa is hugely indebted
to leaders and pioneers like Nyerere who achieved the liberation of their countries
earlier than us and thereby showed us a way, what to do and what not to do, so
that we also avoid doing the same mistakes that they did and benefit from their
strengths. Humility and solidarity is one of the greatest lessons Tanzanians and
Julius Nyerere bequeathed us. Indeed we are very grateful to him for showing us
the important role of education in development and nation building.
Issued by: The Presidency
6 September 2006