Education in the United States could certainly use some help, but the education statistics for South Africa, especially for its young girls, are especially dismal. Of the one million students who should be graduating from high school this year, only half made it to the final national examination, and of those only one quarter qualify for university-level study.
But Oprah Winfrey’s $40 million all-girls campus is graduating 73 of the 75 students that began its program and all of them are heading on to higher learning. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, founded in 2007, is one of 544 out of 6,500 South African schools whose entire graduating class passed national final year exams last year. The school will hold its graduation tomorrow, an event that makes Oprah’s school an official success story after many years of abuse accusations and other legal problems.
In an interview with Associated Press, Winfrey said: “We’re taking a victory lap here, for transformation…every single girl is going to leave here with something greater to offer the world than her body.” She added that her goal was “just to change one girl, affect one person’s life,” and admits that the academy “is not a sustainable model for most people in most countries.” However, it’s nothing but good news that some hope has been infused in a region and serve as a model for conquering the after-effects of apartheid, class-discrepancies, and poverty in the country.
Read more at The Washington Post.