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Thandolwethu Mene
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Education systems: Japan vs South Africa

30 May 2017, 14:49

I was confronted with the question of what advice I would give for the improvement of the state of education in South Africa. People often think that it takes a lot of money to improve education in South Africa but I always wonder if that was the case, then why does the education department in Eastern Cape always have a surplus in budget every year?

Surely if it was about money then they would need more of it to spend and not have a lot of money being returned to the national coffers. If we do not play the blame game and focus on our own feasible achievables we would ask ourselves; what can we do to make the state of education better? In that way we stop looking for somebody to blame and we start looking for answers.

Change always starts with an individual, we cannot expect somebody from somewhere to come and fix our problems for us. That is never going to happen. The future of the next generation is dissipating right in front of our very eyes. Surely that should be ample reason for us to take action. It really hits home for me as I am a product of this said failing system. I am now part of the most advanced educational system in the world, the Japanese Education System. I can see firsthand what it takes to be the most advanced nation in the world. I can only offer this one piece of advice; time.

The amount of time that children back home in South Africa spend at school is little. They spend about half a day at school and then go back home to be idle. That is how most teens end up in one form of mischief or another. They just don’t spend that much time at school doing something productive. Here in Japan students’ lives are at their schools.

They come to school at just past eight o’clock in the morning and they leave at six o’clock at night. Even on weekends students come to school. They have to lock up schools on Sundays in order to stop students from coming in and that shows just how much students love their school life. If students back home were offered a lot more time to spend at school then the grades would pick up. It is not by accident that Japan is the most advanced nation in the world. They work on it. They work on it hard and now it is second nature to them.

Back home students are taught to be dependent. Work ethic is not instilled in our kids. We need to wake up and change that. We need to do it ourselves because if we keep waiting for someone to do right by us, we will watch our world crumble right in front of our very eyes. Let us have more programs that are designed to keep kids at school being productive future citizens.

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