Contrast between education and potential


The topic I would like to tackle today is the “contract be between education and potential”

Here is a short example to illustrate my point: I remember in the mid-90s young people were going in numbers for a teaching profession, and there were even Colleges of Education specializing in producing teachers. They were quite big – it was the thing.

Immediately in the late 90s towards the dawn of the 2000s, and I was in high school then; we were encouraged to stay far from considering teaching as a career pursuit because obviously the industry was over-saturated and there was no demand for teacher supply again. The colleges of education were shut down. If you went on to pursue teaching you were wasting your time as there would be no job opportunity for you.

How these are viewed today as opposed to their original meaning – especially education?

It didn’t take long until we saw another big take-off in this profession; the demand again opened up that you didn’t have to finish your four year degree to be employed; you could drop at a 3rd year level and find a job. Even those who did not found jobs with non-teaching qualification would be considered and employed as teachers.

Few questions based on the above example.:

  • During the ripe season, how many young people became teachers because of the opportunity at hand and  not based on their potential and passion?
  • The subsequent question to that is – What does that do to the industry? Do it growth or even undermine it?
  • What’s to make of the  industry growth potential in the situation saturated by desperate opportunists contrary to industry enthusiasts? In this situation do we stand circumstances where our young people define work as just making ends meet? Rather than an expression of their untapped potential?
  • The big question is – If we continue to follow this job trend, how much new industry potential there exist in South Africa?
  • Should industry be ultimately speaking to human potential or human potential speaking to industry enhancement? In my experience working with you, I find the former to be an ensuring fact. Its solution then, becomes a huge responsibility, something beyond them.

Following is my opinion; as something that we should be working toward much more consciously as it doesn’t provide quick solution.

In order for us to realize a new South Africa and Africa, we ought to accept the responsibility to create a “freedom of potential” environment for our emerging generation. A generation that feels permitted to explore and think beyond an existing context , free from the status quo. This comes with great sacrifice and risk and without risk the possibility for newness is feeble.  Think about any inventor or any innovation; it truly comes from the willingness to be unpopular during the trying time for something much significant and unimaginable. It always looks fashionable in manifestation, that it is in the imagination . The separation between these two stages is trying – you will never get to know without trying and believing.


Have you ever wondered why Africa seems to be at the back seat when it comes to innovation?  while it is the youngest continent in terms of its population? In other words, Africa should be more vibrant, promising, creative – but what do we see instead.


Ladies and gentlemen; let us allow our young generation to lead us into the unimaginable to create a new trajectory of growth for South Africa and Africa.

Article by: Siyanda Chonco – Community/Youth Development Specialist