Education or lack thereof continues to perpetuate inequalities in South Africa. We know that the likelihood of a child born in poverty & receiving a sub-standard education by virtue of being born poor is incredibly high. We also know that education is the single most important lever, which can change the trajectory of any child's life.
Lack of quality education therefore is a dire indictment on the progress and access to opportunities of poor children. It becomes extremely important then that we understand the aftermath of an uneducated majority that doesn't have access to further education and training opportunities; limiting their chances of getting jobs and thereby increasing the already high unemployment rate.
We know that an idle mind is a dangerous mind but even more dangerous is a hungry stomach and an empty pocket. It is unimaginable the measures people will take to feed themselves and their families. Social science dictates that we draw correlations between the high crime rates we see in South Africa to the high unemployment rate that is leading towards social instability. If we continue to live in our bubbles, only innovating and providing solutions for middle class families, we would be doing an injustice to those that need us the most and creating an even more divided society that will harm all of us in the long run.
We can no longer continue forcing children to adapt to our ways of teaching when we, as Teachers should be adapting to the various ways in which children learn.
Back to Basics
The term, back-to-basics, whilst well meaning, carries undertones of comfort and resistance to change. Whilst basics matter, especially in the education environment, we need to be wary of hiding behind back to basics whilst staying behind, lacking innovation and remaining detached from our rapidly changing society.
It goes without saying that the children of today can no longer be taught using the same instructional methods that were used thirty or even ten years ago, we can no longer continue to hail the teacher as the only custodian of knowledge when we know that children bring a myriad of information to the classroom.
We can no longer continue forcing children to adapt to our ways of teaching when we, as teachers, should be adapting to the various ways in which children learn. More importantly, we have to remain relevant and produce learners that are well equipped with skills required by the current and the future economy. We must interrogate the manner in which we have been teaching children and notably we must revisit the relevance of the learning areas we teach this generation of children against the needs of the time.
Whilst there is a lot of reluctance from parents who would rather stick to what they know has worked for the past 100 years, instead of paying attention to the many advances that have occurred in our society and embracing the sometimes, sharp changes that need to occur in the production line of skilled human resources that can adapt and actively participate in the economy. We must reconsider, redesign and restructure much of what we have come to know as "standard practice" if we are to do any justice to the 21st century education system.