The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Magkoba, has called for a day devoted to education next month - “Education Sunday” - to be marked not only through special events at churches but also ecumenically in schools and on campuses. Archbishop Thabo described Sunday 5 February as a time to pray for educators, learners and institutions of learning.
“The quality of our school-leavers' education still needs a lot of improvement,” he said “And it is critical both for fulfilment in the lives of young people, and for the health of our society, that the burgeoning growth in tertiary education is well-managed, sustainably financed, and kept at the highest possible level of educational quality.”
The archbishop said youth anger over educational provision had been triggered by the government sidelining its own commission on higher education, and announcing a fee increase for 2017 unilaterally.
“No wonder young people feel abused, marginalised and degraded,” he said.
He added that when church leaders went to pray at Parliament after a student march in Cape Town last year, they received a warm response as if there was a dimension missing in the conflict, something spiritual which many students knew from their upbringing, and which they missed in secular dialogue.
He described the challenge of building a healthy education system as a critical priority.
“This is a time to listen and to be close to people not only in the tertiary sector but as the crisis extends, as it will, to high schools and across society. Our presence, our prayers and where appropriate, our parenting are needed, alongside our prophecy where the powerful have also been absent and unapproachable, or simply overwhelmed.”