Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18: An Insight Into His Ideas on Education

Nelson Mandela’s life journey has been an inspiration for all, and his ideas on education and peace are joyously celebrated across the globe.



“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 18 as Nelson Mandela Day to honour his values and community service. Prior to that, in 2008, Nelson Mandel passed the baton of change to the next generation, to act and create a change. 

“Young people must take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible so that they can represent us well in future as future leaders.” – Nelson Mandela

Born on July 18, 1918, Mandela aspired to create a change by promoting peace, equality, and eliminating discrimination. He believed that education was the key to this process. 


“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” – Nelson Mandela

As per him, education was not just acquiring a skill-set to contribute to the economic process, but also to the process of nation-building and reconciliation. He saw education as a means to personal development, a window to opportunities. 

“The power of education extends beyond the development of the skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.” – Nelson Mandela

He believed in education being a life-long and never-ending process. When he was imprisoned, he perceived education as an escape from confinement. His faith in learning and education played a vital role in his ideals over politics and democracy. He mentioned the role of education in different phases of his life in his autobiography ‘Long Walk to Freedom.’

“No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.” – Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela has been an inspiration for generations of learners and educators. He did not confine learning to the formal education system, he believed in acknowledging the events outside our lives, and our experiences. He highlighted the importance of positive mental health and shared his experience with it and how he rejuvenated himself by engaging in activities like running. 

Mandela has left a long legacy of hope- hope for a better future, a better system of governance. This hope is driven by education, which is not confined but allows each individual to explore their potential.

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” – Nelson Mandela



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