The foundation of a better future lies within the youth, within the next generation

By Nthabeleng Rampubane: 2018 Writing Challenge 5th Prize Winner

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The twenty-first century is said to be the age of educators, engineers entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers and so much more; a generation that is diverse, curious and capable of tackling the many problems we face both locally and internationally.

Lesotho and Basotho like, all people out there, are fully equipped with resourcefulness, talents and gifts, and yet there’s still no progress in growth and prosperity. As a matter of fact, we are still facing the same challenges we had 10 years ago.

It is said that the future belongs to the youth, a further good reason why young people should take matters into their hands. With all these being said only one question comes to mind: As the youth, what do we hold and what does Lesotho hold for us in the future?

Nelson Mandela stated once, ” Education is the most powerful weapon that one can use to change the world”. Looking around Lesotho, I’m beginning to doubt whether the statement holds true to its meaning because we have many educated individuals who are also our leaders but there’s still no ounce of change.

To me, education is not only about completing your LGCSE and topping it off with multiple degrees; it’s about having knowledge and using it to bring about change because knowledge is power. I wholeheartedly agree with Nelson Mandela on the issue of education and its importance to society, but educated as we may be, we are either ignorant to the fact that we have the power to change our circumstances or it’s simply in our nature to accept these injustices as it has always been.

According to the Constitution of Lesotho, Sections 25 and 28, the Government is bound progressively to make education available to all. The Government has done at least most of its part through provision of free primary education, but there’s still a great number of Basotho children who are denied their right to education and are send off into young marriages and working as herd boys without regard of the dreams and plans they have for their future.

The Government, with regard to the best interests of children and the youth, must enforce legislations and laws to give effect to the prohibition to education and protect the right to education that we are all bound to have. In as much as the Government is responsible, we also have a role to play; we need to change our mindsets and our old practices and realize the importance of education to our nation. Of giving our children just as John F. Kennedy stated, ”Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource”.

Our world is changing and the old standards of education can no longer keep up. We are not getting our worth’s education; the good quality education for the next movers and shakers of the world. This education system should encourage self-discovery.

Stop teaching us the conventional formulas, ideas and systems where we are merely required to make a choice between A, B, C, or D. Teach us where they are coming from instead of basing learning on textbooks and lectures. Give us assessments which are comprehensive ,involving problem-solving and real-world applications. The great Einstein once said,” Education is not about learning the facts, but the training of the mind to think”.

A bright future begins in the classroom with dedicated educators and originative students, but the reality of our schools is rather a harsh one. Our classrooms are overpopulated with buildings that are not in proper conditions. A school should be a place of light, of liberty and learning.

The ministry of Education and Training must invest more in making sure that our schools are in good conditions, with a good supply of all learning materials. Again stop making us believe that our intelligence is determined by a collection of test percentages, what about those students whose skills and talents cannot be determined by these? By so doing, are we not losing unique, unconventional young minds that are essential to solving our complex problems?

Equal opportunities should be available to all regardless of our social backgrounds and gender, and yet women are still treated inferior to men. When are we going to learn that the brain is not gendered? Lesotho is still far behind in many cases; people with disabilities are injustified. They do not have equal opportunities to education, employment and social procurement and yet we still go about chanting the all-so-famous phrase:” DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY”.

We do not have higher institutes of learning that cater for their needs. Are they not eligible to receive an education and carry out their professional careers? We need to equip them with skills and training to allow them to be self-dependent and self-employed

Unemployment in Lesotho is at its highest peak ever. Our graduates are either unemployed or underpaid. In our university and colleges, students are overpopulated studying the popular courses in hopes of getting employed once they have graduated. Basotho, most importantly, must be equipped with entrepreneurship skills because, at this rate, we cannot all afford to be employed but rather be our own bosses.

We need to volunteer and explore all opportunities out there because they are waiting for us to discover and benefit from them. Let us be out and about; let’s be involved in our social, economic and political issues because for a better and sustainable world, we need to have a generation that is aware and involved in what occurs around them.

Education is not a business matter; we also need to teach to young people what has no financial value: the principles of democracy, of solidarity and social justice. Our education system has denied the fact that as human beings we all have a role to play in this world. That our learning should serve a purpose greater than our own lives.

The main focus has only been our academic success, then leading to a good career and a life for our families and ourselves. We need to come together as a nation, to collaborate, instead of competing, if we truly want a better future for ourselves and our nation.

Roger Gaudy once stated, “The future is not to be discovered just as Christopher Columbus discovered America. We do not have to discover, we have to invest.” Lesotho and Basotho are resourceful, let’s just invest. It’s not for the Government alone but us as well. Surely, Basotho deserve better!

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