Premier helps pupils live their dreams
Free State premier Ace Magashule said he was slowly achieving his promises when he bid farewell to 148 students who are off to study medicine in Cuba.
Magashule was addressing the students on Monday night in Bloemfontein. The first students will be leaving soon.
Magashule said that his government promised in 2009 to eradicate poverty in the province by investing in the youth through education.
"Many people in this province are poor and the only weapon you can use to fight poverty is education," he said.
"We want you to be educated so that you can assist your family and society. We want you to plough back into the society and play a role in ending the cycle of poverty."
He blamed apartheid for denying the older generation opportunities to further their studies.
"You are the fortunate ones and have a caring government that is taking you to school abroad for free.
"Since 1994, the government has spent R10-million a year on sending learners to Cuba.
"When we took over in 2009, we aimed to send 2000 pupils to various universities across the country and overseas. We managed to raise R154-million," he said.
The funds were raised through private companies and banks in the province.
Magashule said he wanted to increase the number of students studying in Cuba to 200 in future and said students from other provinces may also be considered.
MEC for education Tate Makhoe urged the students not to be ashamed to return home after completing their studies .
Mabetha Mohayi said he could not wait to begin his studies and become a general practitioner.
"I am happy that one day I will live my dream," he said.
Gadibole Kodisang said he wanted to be a heart specialist and would return home to serve the people of Free State. - firstname.lastname@example.org