In the beginning of the year I enrolled at the University of Pretoria as a first year student to study a BCom Law degree. Even though this was not my first time as a first year student, it was my 3rd to be exact, I was excited at the prospects of me finally studying Law at one of the best universities in the country. Two weeks into my first year I was already up to my ears with problems and what was supposed to be one of the best years of my life turned out to be a problematic one and I hadn’t even started with my classes yet.
My first problem was that I had nowhere to sleep so I ended up squatting at some friends place for the whole term, secondly it was the registration fee, none of the bursaries I had applied for had responded and NSFAS was being NSFAS and giving me problems so I had to register almost three weeks after registration day because that was the only time that the little cents I had gathered up could cover the registration fee, which was a whopping R5 000.00. Then came the issue of text books, I didn’t have any of the textbooks I needed for my course so I ended up attending a month worth of classes without having a single text book to study with. I could go on and on about the problems I encountered in the beginning of the year, some of which I’m still encountering till today, but I want to get to a point that has been of a bigger concern to me than any of those things since January.
I am proud of the fact that I am an African, I am doing all that I can to embrace and learn as much as i can about our beautiful continent so I can be able to act and think like an African in Africa, but over the past couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion that the system that I currently find myself in, which is the Eurocentric Education system found at “Tuks”, is designed to stop me from doing that. Ever since the first day I stepped into the University of Pretoria I have never been taught anything that will bring me any closer to my dream of becoming an Afrocentric leader in the African continent than I could have learned while I was at home.
Our education system is littered with Eurocentric values which are drilled into us every day by White lecturers who work for a university that cares more about whether you have paid the first 50% of your tuition than it does about the countless number of students who sleep on campus and struggle to get food to eat. We are always told that education is important yet the institutions that were designed to teach us don’t teach us the right things.
We have always been told that “education is the key to success” but they have never told us why success is locked in the first place, or better yet who decided to lock success and why are they insisting on keeping it locked. Since the beginning of the year I have seen students being taught to never speak their language and speak the Queen’s language because it is the “international language of business”, i have seen students being taught to forget the concept Ubuntu in the name of making a profit and meeting “the bottom line”, I have seen our history being limited to only a section of a module, I have seen student struggle to find a place to sleep while they are expected to make it to class every day without fail and I have seen students dreams fall apart right in front of them just because their parents can’t afford to pay the tuition fees.
Since the beginning of the year the one things that have been bugging don’t involve money or a place to sleep, the things that have been bothering me are those that happen within the classrooms of this institution, things like students being taught things that they could never use to help take this country, this continent forward once they obtain that piece of paper they work so tirelessly to obtain from these institutions. The biggest thing that bothers me is the fact that our education system is designed in a way that will keep us asking for help from the west because it creates more job seekers than it does job creators.