Cape Town – South Africa will not be able to realise its development goals as long the majority of its children are excluded from accessing tertiary education, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
Zuma addressed the Presidential Address Golf Challenge fundraising dinner at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town on Friday evening, at which the country’s business leaders were urged to pledge money towards the educational needs of children in rural areas.
Hosted under the theme, “A Hole in One for Education: A Learner Today, A Leader Tomorrow”, proceeds of the golf day will go to the Jacob G. Zuma RDP Education Trust which assisted 1200 young people from rural areas last year.
About 80 percent of the beneficiaries are at tertiary institutions across the country while the remainder of them is at high school.
“A nation without education can never one day claim its place as a developed nation because without education you are almost nobody, so I urge all of us to do all we can to ensure that no kids are left out just because they don’t have money,” Zuma said.
“We all make our contributions in society in different ways, but I think a contributing towards education is absolutely important.”
Zuma, who last night told of his humble background of having to educate himself because his family could not send him to school, said the Trust often turned away thousands of hopeful learners due to a lack of funds.
Multichoice and Metropolitan, who have been the main sponsors of the event, again pledged millions of rands towards ensuring that more learners were given an opportunity to further their studies.
Last year Multichoice raised R5 million in a charity event associated with the Trust – of which 70 percent of the money went to the education of the children while the rest was donated on other needy charities.
Sizwe Shezi, Chairman of the Trust, said the Trust was currently helping 1200 students from poor backgrounds each year, adding that more funds would be needed to up the numbers.
“Every year we preach the same thing, we would love to take more [students] because the demand is just too high and we are relying on the generosity of business in everything we do,” he said.
Initially the beneficiaries came from KwaZulu-Natal but for the past three years the trust has helped children from poor communities in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo while needy children in other provinces were also looked at.
Shezi said most of the children enrolled in courses that would contribute towards bring scarce skills to the country’s economy, such as science studies, engineering and economics. – BuaNews