Education system needs an overhaul

2013-01-20 10:00

Many commentators have continuously stated that we are improving in terms of quantity, but quality is what needs to be prioritised.

While I concur, I think the problem has to do more with character.

If education is the foundation of the success of the civilised and most industrialised nations of the world, then logic dictates that we must try to understand the character of those nations’ education systems.

I am convinced that there are basically three elements in the character of our education system that need to be completely overhauled.

Firstly, our education system was designed so that blacks were trained to be recipients of an inferior type of education, which would render them “jobseekers” and not “job creators”.

As a result, it has become a feature of our society to see unemployed graduates holding degrees in things that should foster entrepreneurship, but don’t, such as agriculture.

This is an unacceptable paradox, given the amount of arable land available in this country.

Such graduates complete their degrees and then look for jobs at the department of agriculture or on private farms.

They were not equipped to become entrepreneurs and so they join the multitudes of the unemployed.

This characteristic of our education system needs to be completely annihilated if we are to have inclusive economic growth and development.

Secondly, our academic institutions, especially those that are serving the majority poor communities, design programmes that are not responsive to the challenges faced by the very communities they are supposed to serve.

A classical example is the failure of our institutions to come up with scientific solutions to save the taking over of our small-scale township-based industries, like the spaza shop, by foreign nationals.

Are we so lazy and blind that we can’t build on knowledge and help our township entrepreneurs reclaim their ownership of wealth?

Thirdly, our primary education suffers from what I call “professional-beggar syndrome”.

It is common to see young boys and girls from “black” schools asking for donations for a trip to be undertaken by their school and they camouflage this as fundraising.

Kids from predominantly white schools occasionally organise “market days”, which are basically fundraising events.

In this way, kids from these schools are taught entrepreneurial skills at an early age.

I am suggesting it’s high time we ponder the character of our education system and work on one that will positively define who we are.

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