Investing in Human Capital

MEC Lesufi, South Africa

The legacy of Apartheid is still felt in many parts of South Africa. The damage inflicted on generations of people is not easily, or quickly repaired. Yet in Gauteng province, an ambitious program to accelerate the process of recovery is underway.

Panyaza Lesufi, MEC (Minister of Education) for Gauteng, calls this program ‘Wired for Life’. Its goal is for every learner in the province to have a tablet, every teacher a laptop and every classroom a SMART Board.

It’s ambitious to say the least, but MEC Lesufi describes it as essential.

“Our country relied mainly on the mining industry to develop. The mining industry is shrinking, and we need to be part of what I call the 4th industrial revolution. The 4th industrial revolution is about robots, it’s about driverless car, it’s about coding,” he says. “Our learners need to be part of that world.”

Giving all learners in Gauteng province this opportunity undoes generations of repressed opportunity, but also prepares South Africa to participate in the global economy.

“I don't want learners to be proud that they're cleaning a car. They must be part of innovating it. The investment [in technology] is to open their minds, make them innovative and make them creative,” he says. “Human capacity is the new gold in the world. It's individual creativity that creates new economies.”

Arming students with the resources and tools they need to lead South Africa in the new global economy is where MEC Lesufi inspires greatness. You can watch their full story here.

“Without SMART, we wouldn’t have achieved the goals that we've achieved.”