Publication Details

It is a great honour for me to associate myself with the work of Project Literacy by saying a few words at this launching of your Maths Matters courses as part of your programme for Adult Literacy and Basic Education and Training (ABET). Project Literacy has already established itself as a major force in the daunting challenge of bringing more literacy, more training and more education to the people of South Africa. By concentrating on Adult Education, Project Literacy is focusing the attention on an area that can so easily be neglected in an environment of immense needs and very limited resources to provide in the financing required for massive programmes in primary and secondary education.

The South Africa of the future will be determined by the ability of its people to be competitive in a global environment of economic and financial integration and exposure. The more we succeed in meeting our goals of social and political reform, the more the attention of the people of South Africa will be turned to the economic potential and economic achievements of our country. As we concentrate our minds more on the future and less on the past, our pre-occupation with our own economic achievements will increase, and our urgent desire to be more competitive and more self-sustaining will rise.

It will not be possible to achieve these economic objectives and challenges without training, education and the development of our own skills. In the process, training and education should not remain restricted to the development of the many illiterate people of our community, but should become a culture for each and everyone in our country. We should all become students, irrespective of how old we are, whatever level of education we have already achieved, or the level of responsibility we may carry at this stage. The world is changing so rapidly that our knowledge of today will not be sufficient to enable us to remain competitive tomorrow.

I believe the courses presented by Project Literacy at the various Adult Educational Centres, and through all other conduits, provide the basic elements for the people of South Africa to become students for the rest or their lives. What you are providing in your various ABET courses, in language training, in the Mathematics, Accounting and Business Economics courses, in the Integrated Sciences and in Computer Literacy, equip your scholars with the basic tools they need to become students for the rest of their lives. The enhanced New Maths Course adds to the impressive curricula already included in the various courses presented by Project Literacy.

The world in which we live is becoming more and more demanding and, at the same time, more complex. We have yet to learn how to live in a world of financial and economic integration.

The way in which the recent East Asian financial crisis affected financial markets all around the world, surprised many of us. All the consequences for economic development of the global satellite communication system and the transfer around the world of information on a real-time basis through Internet are not yet fully understood. The changes that will still be introduced through the further development of electronic trading and electronic money systems can only be conjectured about at this stage.

Adult Education begins by introducing so many of our disadvantaged people to the basics of reading and writing, but it extends its learning over the full spectrum of a modern and sophisticated world of the Computer, the PC and the Network. We cannot underestimate the need for training and education, and we cannot thank all the people enough who devote their efforts and their lives in Project Literacy to this enormous task.

May I also express a word of appreciation to your many donors who make it possible for Project Literacy to continue with its work of bringing education to the people. A special word of thanks is due to Nedcorp Peoples Bank for sponsoring this breakfast meeting for the launching of the new Maths Matters courses, and for its generous contribution to the development of these courses.