JOHANNESBURG, 21 NOVEMBER 2023 — President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a compelling address at the 10th Education International Africa Regional Conference held at the Sandton Convention Centre. The conference, themed “Standing Together for Resilient Education Systems in Times of Crisis,” focused on shaping the future of education in Africa and beyond.
President Ramaphosa highlighted South Africa’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the nation’s ability to navigate the crisis and accelerate digital transformation in education and work. He acknowledged the disparities in education systems, particularly the digital divide that affected learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The President underscored the importance of standing united for equal access to education, emphasizing that education is the cornerstone of building societies’ futures. He commended the role of educators, recognizing their fundamental contribution to shaping societies and advocating for their voices in finding solutions to educational challenges.
President Ramaphosa outlined significant educational reforms in South Africa, including the implementation of a Coding and Robotics curriculum from Grade R to Grade 9. This initiative aims to equip learners with digital skills essential for success in a rapidly changing world.
Decolonizing education was another key focus, with President Ramaphosa stressing the urgency of challenging colonial theories and practices. He called for a shift away from a Eurocentric worldview to embrace a more diverse and inclusive perspective, integrating African perspectives and experiences into curricula.
The President urged collaboration among labor movements, civil society organizations, and NGOs to protect the right to education. He praised organizations like Education International for their vital role in advocating for quality education and ensuring inclusive learning opportunities.
President Ramaphosa concluded by inviting conference attendees to explore South Africa’s rich history and culture. He expressed gratitude for the invitation and encouraged participants to contribute to building resilient education systems capable of inspiring and empowering future generations.
In closing, President Ramaphosa wished the conference success in its deliberations, highlighting the collective effort needed to shape the future of education on the continent and globally.