The former president has given himself some accolades for his contribution to the educational system of South Africa.
Speaking to the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) on free education in Durban on Wednesday, Zuma heaped praise upon someone he feels did a great job of improving South Africa’s education system himself.
According to the former president, his decision to split the department of education into the basic and higher education departments resulted in improved matric results, The Times has reported.
“When I became the president, one of the things I did was to separate the department of education‚ which was just a huge department. The problem‚ as I saw it‚ was that there was no focus put on basic education. If you wanted our children to be like other children‚ you needed to deal with the foundation. And that’s why I wanted a black child to be empowered‚ so that the black child must help us to get where we need to be as quickly as possible‚” he said.
Zuma is not alone in lauding his contribution to our education system. Organisers of a student demonstration in support of Jacob Zuma ahead of his court appearance in April called him a “blesser for free education in South Africa”.
At the event, Zuma also said free tertiary education should have been implemented in South Africa more than a decade ago and if it had been‚ the country would have produced job creators rather than jobseekers.
He described the implementation of free higher education as a turning point in South Africa’s history‚ saying it was a decision that would be appreciated in years to come.
“We forget about the elements that make education so important because we should have declared free education more than 10 years back. We would be very far now in terms of what is that we are doing in every level in our country‚” he said.
“This decision will be appreciated by people in many years to come because‚ for the first time‚ we have said, let’s use our resources to empower ourselves in order to change the quality of life [in] our country. Implementing free tertiary education was a turning point of our history‚” he said.
Zuma announced that government would subsidise free higher education for poor and working-class students in December 2017.