Minister Grant Encourages Learners to Honour Mandela
18 July 2013
I am delighted to share this very special day with all of you.
There is no better way to honour our beloved Madiba than by improving the lives of our young children through education.
You see, Nelson Mandela is a great believer in education and life-long learning. He used every opportunity he could to learn, or to teach others.
He excelled at school, finishing his Junior Certification in two years, instead of the three that it took his fellow learners. From school he went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts studies, then went on to study law. His university life was then interrupted by his involvement in the ANC. He was then sent to Robben Island prison. But his studies did not stop there. He continued his legal education while he was in prison too and he often gave legal advice to both prisoners and prison staff.
His love and belief in education was appreciated by all, and because of it, Robben Island became known as the "Nelson Mandela University".
Despite its being hard and difficult in prison, Mandela somehow managed to turn it into a place of learning.
The importance he attached to education was summed up in his famous quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world”.
I certainly couldn’t agree more.
At the forefront of education is the ability to read and write.
That is why we attach such importance to the development of our young learners’ literacy skills through reading books from, for instance, a library such as the one we are officially opening today.
Literacy is one of the essential skills our children need in terms of their education and is the foundation upon which all further learning is built.
Children who cannot read and write will be presented with challenges throughout their lives. We are seeing this all too often in our schools. Many of our learners are not reading and writing at the required levels. This is presenting problems for their future educational growth and development.
While the WCED is concentrating its efforts on improving the reading and writing skills of our learners through various interventions and ensuring text-rich classrooms, we appreciate the efforts of organisations such as Shine Reading Centre, Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which are promoting reading and writing and are assisting us with building text-rich libraries.
I sincerely hope that the learners of Alpine Primary School take advantage of their new library, together with the reading material we have supplied to this school, and use this opportunity to become avid and committed readers.
May this library become the busiest hub of this school community, other than that of the classroom!