Higher Education in South Africa has been under the spotlight over the past two weeks. The media highlighted the increasing demand for tertiary education vs. the incapacity of institutions of higher learning to accommodate the youth. Many youth were turned away, possibly becoming disappointed and despaired.
My involvement in student enrollment at the college where I teach impacted me deeply and caused me to write this short piece. It’s a brief reflection on my personal experiences and observations. Hundreds of youth came to the college to enroll for vocational and other courses. I met many new faces and enjoyed the opportunity to assist and guide parents and students through the registration process.
I have seen worry in the eyes of parents and students when they scramble to submit outstanding documents to secure their place at the college. A mother said to me; “She (her daughter) was already disappointed by other colleges that rejected her application.” As the mother said that; I noticed the tears flowing from her daughter’s eyes and down her cheeks. Being affected by the desperation from this mother and daughter, I asked my colleague to commit that they would enroll the girl and grant her the opportunity to gather outstanding documents.
This experience and others, made me think about the role institutions of learning play in society. I can possibly mention many roles; however, the one I wish to highlight is the role of giving hope. Hope presents opportunity, not limitations. It presents love, and not despair.
Check out some remarkable stories of hope around Cape Town.