Continued Education Is A Human Right And An Opportunity Enabler

Continued Education Is A Human Right And An Opportunity Enabler


Education is a fundamental human right, but one that assists with the achievement of many other human rights. This Human Rights Day, Manpower South Africa Lyndy van den Barselaar states that one human right that is vital to addressing many economic and social issues is that of continual education and upskilling.  

“Education is an opportunity enabler”, says van den Barselaar. “It not only provides more and better opportunities to individuals, it also stimulates economic growth by addressing skills shortages, nurturing entrepreneurship, decreasing unemployment, and decreasing the short and long term reliance on state social payments.” 

On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution that would define the fundamental universal rights of all individuals in the world. Further, article 26 specifically stated that “everyone has the right to education”, while the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisations went further to declare that “education is a powerful tool by which economically and socially marginalised adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully as citizens.”

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“In short, education and training are two important keys that will unlock the door to a better future; and while the belief is that education is limited to those with the means to pay for formal institutional training, the reality is that free and recognised online education and training exists. Through these online education and training portals, individuals can further their knowledge, experience, and skills set, which gives them a distinct advantage when applying for positions of employment.”

“There are many online education and training platforms are proficient in providing the necessary upskilling of individuals, allowing them to access more opportunities. An example is Manpower’s powerYOU training platform that provides candidates free online access to thousands of online courses covering a range of topics from basic workplace software applications, to business skills courses on topics such as communication or problem solving, to the most in-demand programming languages like SQL, JAVA and C#. In addition, powerYOU also provides certification prep courses in project management, human resources, and data management.

“The pace at which industries are changing, fueled by innovation and the adoption of technology to increase efficiencies, may be quickening the pace towards certain careers becoming obsolete, however it is also leading to the development of new job functions as well as developing a greater need for trained personnel to fulfil these new roles, any of which are in the IT sector. 

The 2016-2017 Manpower Talent Shortage Survey found that, globally, 40% of employers reported talent shortages; this was the highest reported shortage rate since 2007. In the face of a growing talent shortage, 53% of employers are turning to training & development to address talent shortages by upskilling and redeploying employees – particularly those with job functions that are becoming obsolete.

Related: How Tax-Free Savings Could Fund Your Child’s Education

 IT Staff (incorporating developers, programers, database administrators, and IT managers) represents the 2nd highest talent need globally, with Sales representatives and Office Support Staff ranking 3rd and 10th respectively on the list of the hardest skills to find. 

Mara Swan, executive vice president for global strategy and talent and Manpower says that “employability depends less on what you already know and more on how well you can learn, apply, and adapt.”

“This is true not only for those who are already employed, but also to those candidates seeking employment,” says van den Barselaar.

“By increasing your skills set with courses that give you the business essential knowledge you are making yourself far more desirable to employers that are wanting employees that can integrate into the business environment quickly. The education exists online; those with the means to access the information on their own should take advantage of this, and those who are limited in access this information are welcome to approach us, register as a candidate, and begin their upskilling programme.” 

“Greater opportunities are waiting for those who will empower themselves with knowledge and skills,” concludes van den Barselaar.

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