15 things that should be taught in SA's schools


Remember having those moments in school where you wondered how something you're being taught will ever benefit you when you're older (and has yet to benefit you)? As soon as I was introduced to algebra, I had these thoughts almost every day.

The truth is, a lot of what's taught in schools is very systematic and doesn't really focus on the individual growth of students.

Whether you agree with this or not, you can't deny that there are more skills our kids can learn at schools, things that could essentially be used in everyday settings.

Here's a list:

1. Time management techniques

Managing time well is an underrated practice that many schools don’t take into account. It can greatly reduce one’s stress and result in a better-organised individual. It teaches students to plan things so they don’t become too swamped with work and any other obligations they may have, or side-tracked by diversions such as social media. 

2. How to compile a substantial CV and cover letter

Being able to compile a good CV and cover letter is so important, yet the majority of schools fail to teach this even though it would greatly benefit learners, especially those looking to find employment straight after school.

3. Good interview skills

This is another important thing students don’t often learn in schools. Some people will naturally interview better than others but a few good lessons and some practice can make any student interview-ready!

Learners should be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses so that they can thrive during interviews. Offering mock interviews at school would be greatly beneficial.

4. Study skills 

You’d think that in a schooling environment, most students would know how to study but unfortunately, this is not the case. Many students perform poorly in exams because they fundamentally do not know how to study well enough. Teaching students healthy studying habits will decrease the amount of cramming done before exams and results would skyrocket. 

5. Sex ed 

This one doesn’t need much elaboration; I think we are all aware of the consequences of not teaching children about safe sex. For further substantiation, see “Bringing “the talk” onto school premises”.

Try avoiding the Coach Carr from Mean Girls method of Sex Ed though: 

6. Basic money management, taxes, budgeting, credit

This is extremely important in creating economically conscious citizens. So many people fall victim to debt and black-listing, even at a young age, because they don't know any better than to be persuaded by capitalist agendas. Teaching children these important lessons in schools will ensure that they handle their finances wisely.

7. Mental health

This is SO important.

Depression and anxiety are so common among high school learners yet it is still something that schools take lightly or don’t even acknowledge at all. 

The ignorance towards mental health is astounding and students need to be assured that having mental health issues does not make them any less important than their neurotypical peers. Having professional psychologists present in schools would help.

If students are in a safe space where they feel open to talk about their mental health, they could get the help they need and this would combat the amount of students who suffer in silence and mental illness induced tragedies. 

8. University-style referencing and fact-checking

Even though not all learners will end up going to university, proper referencing is something worth teaching since it can be applied at school anyway. It will save learners from so much confusion once they eventually need to do university style referencing. Plus, in the digital age, it's imperative that we teach kids to investigate where they get their facts from as not all sources are credible.

9. Stress management

Stress usually welcomes unhealthy habits such as substance abuse, overeating or lashing out. This is a result of people not knowing how to cope with the amount of stress they experience. Teaching students healthy ways to cope with stress will avoid all those unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

10. Basic survival skills

Sure, you can solve a quadratic equation but how will that help when you’re (hypothetically) stranded in the middle of nowhere? Students should learn how to fend for themselves and ultimately, be able to withstand what comes their way if they ever happen to find themselves in life-or-death situations. A can-do attitude and problem-solving mentality will carry them far too.

11. First-aid 

Although many schools may offer first-aid courses, it isn’t incorporated as a compulsory part of the curriculum. In emergency situations, students would be able to help others who are harmed or in life-threatening situations; be it in the schooling or external environment.

12. How to communicate

Communication may seem like something that everyone learns to do – especially in schools – but it is more than simply being able to converse with others. Communication is about how you converse with others. This means being considerate of others’ feelings and knowing when it is appropriate to do and say things. Also to speak up when necessary. It will change the way students make human connections – for the better.

13. Self-defense 

Being able to protect yourself, especially in this dangerous world we live in, is crucial. Self-defense isn’t something everyone feels inclined to learn so having it be a compulsory part of the schooling curriculum could help students in situations where they may need it; it could even end up saving lives. 

14. Self-love

When children learn how to love and accept themselves, especially in the schooling environment which is the source of most children’s self-doubt and insecurity, their lives become so much easier. Having self-confidence will help students thrive in social settings and be overall more wholesome and self-aware individuals.

15. Tolerance

It’s often said that children are born with love but taught to hate and while this may often be true, schooling environments breed marginalisation of students that are "different." Imagine a world where everyone was respectful of the next person or their beliefs? By teaching children tolerance in schools, we'd be one step closer to this utopia.

Is there anything you feel should be taught in schools or discarded from the list? Let us know by emailing us at chatback@Parent24.com and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous.

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