Equal Protection and Public Education: Fighting Discrimination

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As Mahatma Gandhi once said education is the basic tool for the development of consciousness and the reconstitution of society. The knowledge students will obtain from a basic education will result in students learning or becoming more aware of their rights leading to more people fighting for equality as well as this basic education is the first step in a journey to becoming employed in the future therefore if the government of South Africa focuses all their resources on basic education it will result in reduced inequality and an improvement in economic growth in South Africa.

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With 34% NEETS, which are people between the ages of 15-24 who are neither educated nor employed in south Africa it can be concluded from the 62,9% of learners that are receiving social grants, that a large number of South Africa’s population faces poverty and may not find the education affordable which leads to children dropping out of school or not attending at all which may result in poverty as well as a higher percentage of NEETS. The international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights which states that primary school should be free and compulsory for all, came into force in south Africa but the government has yet to fulfil this obligation in all aspects.

Though the south African government has made it accessible to 69,7% of the learner’s to not pay school fees this excludes all children with disabilities that the government of south Africa does not consider and provide for in terms of the basic education that the government makes accessible and or affordable and it is these children that face an inequality to access basic education which will then lead them to not have equal opportunities to other south African citizens in terms of basic and tertiary education. If the government of South Africa allocated more of its time and resources on bettering the basic educational systems of their country by building more schools that can cater for children with disabilities as well as cut out unnecessary expenses for parents including uniforms it will lead to more children with disabilities being able to afford to be educated and have equal opportunities as other south African children and hence decrease disability inequality. 

The education usually provided to students that attend public government-funded school is inadequate compared to functional public schools and private schools and this is due to poor infrastructure, teacher absenteeism and lack of water and sanitation. statistics show that up to 75% of learners are dependent on dysfunctional public schooling and only 25 % that depend on functional public and private schools that have enough teachers and resources to provide learners with an adequate education. If a larger number of south African citizens have access to well functional government schools which will be a result of the government improving the standard of basic education it will lead to more people becoming employed and earning a salary which leads to reduced income and economic inequality. 

With a larger number of south African citizens having access to education it will result in more women learning about their rights which will empower them to fight for their rights as a result of being educated. Statistics show that women who are educated are four times less likely to lack control over household resources, domestic abuse or being married young. With more women being educated it will lead to them becoming more aware of their rights as well as more jobs will include women resulting in gender inequality being reduced in society as well as in the work place. The knowledge citizens will obtain from basic education will teach students that all citizens of south Africa are equal as stated in the bill of rights, “Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law” this will lead to less discrimination terms of race therefore reducing racism and decreasing race inequality. This will create more equal opportunities for south Africa’s diverse population in terms of educational and job opportunities. Therefore, as a result of the south African government focusing all their resources on bettering the basic education it results in disability, income, economic, gender and race inequality being reduced.

With more people having access to a better basic education and becoming employed this will lead to reduced economic inequality and as a result reduced poverty, a certain study showed that a 10% increase in a country’s average income will reduce the poverty rate by between 20 to 30%. Crime researcher Eldred de Klerk concluded that poverty directly impacts crime levels and therefore as a result of poverty being reduced crime rates will decrease. A decrease of crime levels in south Africa will make our country a good tourist destination as people will feel safe visiting south Africa. This will lead to improving the economic growth in two ways the first being the money the tourists spend in south Africa will have a positive affect on the economy and secondly with south Africa being a tourist destination it will open up more job opportunities for south African citizens in the tourism industry resulting in more people working and earning a salary therefore improving the economic growth of south Africa. 

A statistic from 2018 showed that tourism in south Africa created 1,5 million jobs and R425.8 billion to the economy if crime rates and poverty were to decrease this amount of money will significantly increase as more tourists will be attracted to south Africa if crime rates are lower. With basic education reducing many inequalities in south Africa, south Africa’s title of being the worlds most unequal; country may change international investors will consider the reduced inequalities and poverty positives of south Africa making it an ideal country to invest in hence improving the economic growth. More people being employed and earning a good salary will mean more people are paying taxes and are contributing to the government having money to fund social and economic programs and public goods and services including schools which will result in the government being able to continue to better the educational systems of south Africa which will continue the cycle of more people getting employed and as a result improve south Africa’s economic growth.

On the other had some may argue that south Africa’s government needs to rather use already existing resources and investments more wisely rather than investing all resources in better education. Statistics show that south Africa spends more money on education than the united kingdom and the united states of America, in previous years 15% of south Africa’s total budget which equates roughly to R213.7 billion being spent on basic education therefore supporting the argument that south Africa’s government need to rather utilize already existing investments in education rather than investing all resources in the basic education. 

By investing all resources on basic education other areas of importance including healthcare, public transport and water infostructure and other services will not cope without government funding and therefore fail. By south Africa not having health care, public transport and water supplies twill a complete counter effect to what basic education will provide in terms of inequalities. As basic education will lead to inequalities being decreased but not providing healthcare, public transport and water for the citizens of south Africa will lead to more inequality of the country

In conclusion, though some may argue differently the government directing all their resources on improving basic education is the foundation to reduced inequality and economic growth of south Africa as citizens become more aware of their rights and are empowered to fight for them as well as citizens are educated on the importance of furthering their education and getting a job to earn a salary.

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