Social media platforms are flooded with pictures of learners starting the new school year. In a country where education is invaluable to affect change and upliftment, these pictures are a beautiful sight. But there are of course also many challenges – one of which is for education to actually offer what is needed in today’s world.
This challenge is not limited to South Africa. I recently read an article, 5 Big Ways Education Will Change By 2020 written in 2015, but I don’t think education has matured to what we expected. In general, we might have expected a bit too much of 2020 – click on the link for some more predictions we got horribly wrong.
I think that while much of our development has been formed by the advancement of technology, today’s consumer is not only waiting to see what new technology brings. In today’s world we are aware and well informed and to some degree, I think, consumer expectations nowadays show the direction for development and technology. This is also true for education.
I don’t know enough about any school curriculum to criticize and that is not what I am doing, but just as consumer expectations are challenging the direction for technology and development, the economy and job environment should have an influence on the way we teach kids.
Of course there are the fundamentals when it comes to education. Having a school to go to, books to write in, capable teachers to guide you, learning to read, write and count… And while there are big challenges in our country due to poverty, remote and rural locations, corruption… something has to follow on this base level of education. I believe what we teach our kids has to be relevant for the world of today.
While I am all for academic achievement, in a country where unemployment hovers just under 30% and the expected economic growth rate is less than 1%, we really have to make a plan. Of course such a plan is much more complex than the proverbial teaching them to fish, but perhaps there is more we can do at school level to empower our people to be employable, to become entrepreneurs and to be self-sufficient. Just a thought.