The youth in South Africa must seek to make it a better place, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Sunday.
In a speech prepared for delivery at a Young Communist League youth month rally at Phaahla stadium in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, Nzimande said the youth must continue the struggle fought by the generation of 1976.
“This must include developing and using African languages academically, and combating distortions that can only contribute in liquidating these languages,” Nzimande said.
“We must focus on relevant education, and therefore the transformation of curriculum, especially the content of learning and teaching.”
The dominance of neo-liberalism in South Africa's curriculum, especially but not exclusively at college and university levels, needed to be challenged.
Nzimande, also the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, said it was such neo-liberal content in education that taught students the market was the remedy to the problems facing human society, which was not true.
“On the contrary, it is because of the market that society is vulnerable to endemic economic crisis, inequality, unemployment and poverty.”
The youth were most affected by the triple challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty, with 42 percent of South Africa's citizens under 35, with an average age of 25.
“Youth unemployment is double that of people over the age of 35. What must we do? We must at least focus on education, among others, making use of all opportunities opened up by the ANC-led alliance and government,” he said.
Eighty percent of schools were now no-fee schools, and with pupils in those schools receiving a meal a day, there was no reason why young people should not attend school or drop out.
This applied especially to pupils from poor households. - Sapa