LAST week, we remembered the 34th anniversary of the June 16 1976 students uprisings.

Our memory was refreshed about the generation that acted in a noble and gallant manner to bring about desirable changes in our society.

Sight should not be lost of the fact that the students were not doing society a favour.

This was in keeping with the liberatory tradition of all those who resisted and fought against white rule from the Union of South in 1910 to date. They sacrificed for the benefit of the poor and powerless. They found self and communal fulfilment in their actions.

The education struggle was about people's aspirations and values.

"Bantu Education" was inferior and inhibiting mental and social or economic growth. It was a tool for preparing black people for subordinate and dehumanising roles in society.

It was rightly resisted because it was a means to enslave one section of society by another.

It was a poisonous mental prescription.

For these and other reasons, black people refused to subject themselves to stunted economic and social development.

We could have tolerated Afrikaans just like lawyers or theologians endure Latin, Greek or Hebrew as long their study opens up new insights, understanding and wisdom.

Regrettably, education is today relegated to a simple merchandise to be bought and sold to those who can best afford.

The poor are only able to access cheap education that the state provides poorly.

Bureaucrats that serve this poor quality have no decency to make their own children to attend the schools that they shamelessly mismanage and systematically destroy.

Society must wake up to the fact that education cannot be revolutionised and transformed for the better while the entrenched self-serving bureaucrats, have licence to run down our schools.

Red-tape, negligence and heavy-handedness, as well as misguided lust for self-enrichment that derives from access to government positions at the expense of the country and people, must be given the boot.

We must raise a big fuss and work out practical ways if the interests of our education system are subverted or undermined.

It is not being harsh to state that the day society will value its people as a critical resource for social and economic development, education will receive a special place in all our activities.

We can only fundamentally affirm our democracy as well as our basic social values through quality education that is accessible to the poor and powerless among us.

Poor education robs our people the only chance to escape ignorance, poverty, backwardness and their aspirations in life.

It is for this that a week after the celebration of the gallant struggles that the 1976 youth waged that we must remind ourselves that the struggle is far from over. True emancipation of the people is yet to be attained.

Education is the site of the death-struggle against a subversive dominant culture that values so-called bubble-gum celebrities of our day above the values that arise from quality education.

The success of the Fifa World Cup preparations suggests that we must swear at South Africans hundred times and check up on them a thousand times in order to get the simplest things done in a right way.

Please let us not fail to provide quality education for the potential of our people. Our shared social values depend on it.