Basking in uncertainty

“Education is the only way out

The way out of ignorance

The way out of darkness

Into the glorious light”

These words were uttered in the movie The Great Debaters

Graduation 2

And I would like to debate this

This glorious light that is spoken of, does not speak to me

Because what I see

Is a degree

According to TimesLive that costs you R200 000, but only gets you earning a R2000 salary

This way out entails more than what they tell you

This way is paved with financial burdens, debts, anxiety and insecurity

Of whether or not your glorious light will actually delight you

I read in the Daily Dispatch that there is a Grade 1 failure crisis

Graduation 3

This scared me because I realised our discourses are occurring too late

These discourses need to occur at grassroots level

It is here where we need to analyse and critically engage

But this is a conversation that needs to take place when Grade 9 pupils are making subject choices

In Grade 9 they are being misled into believing that Mathematical Literacy will be their major barrier into university

Where in fact they are encouraged to enter institutions of Higher learning

As if South Africa does not need people in Sales and Entrepreneurship

It is at this level where pupils need to be informed of what the world needs them to be

And not necessarily what they want to be

You see, this is the survival of the fittest

And I wish this message was shared with me

Graduation 4

Because these pupils are advised to study Physical Science and Mathematics as that will supposedly secure them places in university

Directing them towards studying Medicine and Pharmacy

Enforcing this idea that we need more people in these fields

Forgetting that we have Information Technology, Finance, Business Management and Architecture

This is according to BusinessTech

Yet this is not the cure to our dilemma

Our dilemma is a multifaceted one and needs to be treated as such

It is not only the lack of employment that is the problem

It is the lack of resources students have across South Africa to know what is expected of them

Graduation 5

And this is as a result of the structural inequalities that people have been a victim of

And it is in this expectation where our solution might be

Yes, our unemployment rate has decreased from 27.7% to 26.7% in 2017

But what exactly does this mean?

What does it mean to a graduate who has a degree in Journalism where anyone can now be a Journalist?

And we have been talking about free education and what exactly it entails

I was asked in which sector I would want free education to be implemented in

And this had me thinking

That it makes no sense to have free education in Institutions of Higher learning only

When the marginalised people are unable to pay their high school fees

Who is then entering these institutions of higher learning?

Graduation 6

Who exactly is free education for?

Who will graduate?

When the dropout rate in South Africa for matriculants is sitting at 44.6% states BusinessTech

Where most university only use online application systems in a country where 46% of our population has access to the internet

And I’m learning that

You can study for several years

Endure everything that university has offered you

You can even graduate

But this graduation is not your security

It does not absolve you from paying off your student debt

Graduation 8

It does not even mean that you will enter a field of employment that you studied for

Oh how easily you can forget that you can form part of the 7% of graduates who are included in the unemployed 26.7% states BusinessLive

And this is perhaps where our introspection lies

Where we reflect on our ability to project what has been expected of us.  

Where we try to decipher what exactly education is and what it is taking us out of

Where we debunk what this glorious light will be

Beyond graduation caps and gowns

Beyond being capped

Beyond getting that certificate

Beyond the ceremony

Beyond the celebrations

What is this glorious light?

And do we really want to bask in it?

Graduation 9

*This poem was published in the Grocott’s Mail, Makana Sharp Graduation  edition.

 

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