The privilege of education

Jun 27, 2015 Kym Bishop education Khanyisa So-High

School is out! And I am not sure who is more delighted – the children, the teachers who have worked hard for a long term, or the parents who also have a well deserved break from homework, school lunches, and the school run. But, as the school term closes, and we head into a wonderful mid-year break, I am mindful of the incredible privilege it is to have access to education. Every afternoon, when my son complains about having to do homework, I try to remind him how lucky he is to go to school, and have homework, and learn. (He doesn't always appreciate my attempts to improve his attitude, but I am sure you get the point!) 

Going to school may be part of our normal, everyday reality, but that is not the case for many children in our country, for whom school, and an education is almost an impossibility. Tertiary education is equally difficult for many South Africans to access. And yet statistics show a strong link between increased levels of education and decreased levels of poverty. Education is one significant tool that will help tackle poverty in our country. 

Here at UMC, we believe in education. It is one of our emphases as a community of faith. Not only do we encourage our congregation to be learning, reading and thinking, but we believe in and support education initiatives within the community. We have a wonderful pre-school on our property, and Khanyisa, our UMC Community project, works with preschool teachers as well as offering training in a number of other areas, helping people to learn. We are also starting an adult literacy programme in July (it is a very exciting project, so watch this space!). 

Another avenue that has emerged in support of education is the idea of sponsoring specific candidates who would otherwise not be able to afford their studies. We have helped connect sponsors with learners, and so give people the opportunity to change the world through changing one life, through education. (If this kind of sponsorship interest you, please let me know). So as we relax and enjoy the break from school, let us continue to be mindful of the privilege education is, and look for ways to help others access opportunities to learn.