Mediocrity is a scary medium

2011-01-21 12:57

Why do we seem so comfortable with ­mediocrity?

Why is it, as we start to delve deeper and deeper into what’s online, we seem to think that it is alright to stop probing, understanding, and perfecting?

Why have we become so accepting of “face value”, without even taking a peek into what is happening behind the curtain?

The matric results were recently released and there was jubilation and much ­patting on the back because there was a 7.2 percentage point increase from the ­previous year.

We see this and we congratulate ourselves immediately, forgetting that not too long ago it was ­acknowledged that Outcomes-Based Education, the system that has been in place since the late 1990s, hasn’t lived up to expectations.

This implies that we have a generation of children who have been failed by an education system that is supposed to provide them with, at the bare minimum, the basics required to tackle the “real world”.

The attention on the pass rate distracts us from what education is supposed to be about: the knowledge and the tools.

I believe we are failing the future of this country each day we do nothing about the education ­system.

When I was in school, you ­needed to get 50% or more to pass a subject, now you need to know a minimum of 40% of what you are taught and, in some instances, only 30%. And the amount of actual subject matter is also being ­reduced, which means you have to know less of a lesser amount than those of us who studied during the 80s and early 90s.

We have great young minds with the potential to achieve a great deal but, if we continue to mislead them, how can we celebrate the future?

In discussions about this, I have been accused of being ­overly pessimistic but I struggle to see how it benefits anyone in the long term when we continue to sugar-coat everything and drop standards to avoid disappointment.

We live in changing times. Innovation and creativity in all spheres of our planet, from arts and culture to business and technology, drive the way we live.

For Africa as a continent, now is the time to catch up with the rest of the world because knowledge and wisdom are at our fingertips through the internet.

Entrepreneurship continues to be a strong driver of development and growth globally, and we all acknowledge that small business is what will build our economies.

If we cannot even provide the generations who are to lead these processes with basic education, how do we expect to compete in any sphere?

When we have children who write without vowels and can’t grasp the simplest of concepts, how do we expect them to even read?

How can we expect them to run businesses, develop scripts, write songs, develop ­software or build empires?

It scares me.

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