Fu­ture­proof your child

CityPress - - Opportunity Index - GAYLE ED­MUNDS projects@city­press.co.za

At a re­cent Gor­don In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Science (Gibs) fo­rum, fu­tur­ist Graeme Co­dring­ton, ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist Michelle Lis­soos and par­ent­ing ex­pert Nikki Bush gave an over­view of how the world of work is shift­ing. We are living through an era shift – much like the Industrial Revo­lu­tion that be­gan in the 18th cen­tury. Deep struc­tural changes in our so­ci­ety will leave noth­ing un­changed and our chil­dren will live and – im­por­tantly – work in a dif­fer­ent place.

It is up to us – par­ents, em­ploy­ers and ed­u­ca­tors – to pre­pare all our chil­dren for the path that lies ahead of them. No longer can we pre­pare a path for them.

The three speak­ers all agreed that for busi­nesses to “fu­ture­proof” them­selves, they must put par­ent­ing higher on the agenda and that de­vel­op­ing the right tal­ent for what is al­ready on its way will come down to a joint ef­fort be­tween com­pa­nies, schools and par­ents.

Co­dring­ton lays out four ar­eas in which the way we work will change ir­re­vo­ca­bly: The chil­dren in Grade 1 to­day will be in the new world of work in 2025.

They have been born into tech­nol­ogy and they have no need to learn facts by rote (they can google them). We – par­ents and ed­u­ca­tors – have to cre­ate crit­i­cal thinkers. Teach­ing needs to get way be­yond the three R’s: read­ing, writ­ing and arith­metic. Rather, we have to teach our chil­dren to cu­rate and crit­i­cally eval­u­ate the high­ways of in­for­ma­tion they have ac­cess to.

South African schools, says Lis­soos, have yet to make the sys­tem­atic shift re­quired. Ed­u­ca­tion needs to be in the ser­vice of learn­ing, not sim­ply to get chil­dren through ex­ams and is­sued with a ma­tric cer­tifi­cate. Sub­sti­tu­tion – swap­ping a black­board for a white­board – is not the needed re­def­i­ni­tion we need to pre­pare our chil­dren for the path they will be on in the new world of work. Tech­nol­ogy is used too of­ten in ed­u­ca­tion as a Band-Aid, when what is re­ally needed is a struc­tural shift to col­lab­o­ra­tive, crit­i­cal think­ing that needs to start with ed­u­ca­tors.

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