Constance T. Simelane
Minister of Education
Born of parents who were both teachers, I began my career teaching.
It has become a cliché that “the future belongs to our youth” or that we want the youth to become “useful citizens of the future”. However, it is also unfortunately true that our youth tend to live in and for the present. We have the responsibility of making the future meaningful to the youth through the way we bring them up by making the curriculum meet their current needs while equipping them with knowledge, skills and attitudes to meet the challenges of the future.
For those of us living in the Southern Africa region, delivery of a curriculum that fully equips our youth for the future is meeting with a number of obstacles. Our region has been identified as the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Compounding our problems has been a devastating drought and an economic decline that has considerably raise poverty levels. These problems have not only adversely affected governments’ ability to deliver but even at household level, they have made provision of basic survival needs a nightmare.
The first challenge then is the provision of basic needs to ensure that a child is in a fit condition to learn. Sustenance of the child both at home and at school is the responsibility of all. Once at school, the child needs to be provided with life-skills that will ensure avoidance of contracting the HIV virus, coping with the difficult socio-economic environment and being able to cope with the challenges of 21st century existence.
While grappling with all these we do realize that we live in a global environment. We have to provide a curriculum that equips our youth with skills that make them suitable for the job market not only nationally, but regionally and internationally. We have to induce in them a sense of environmental consciousness and of loving and caring for their country, for their world and for all people.