SA ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem ‘must go dig­i­tal’

Daily Dispatch - - News -

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter Stella Nd­abeniAbra­hams wants all schools to drop chalk boards for e-books and to use tech­nol­ogy to teach.

She said it was es­sen­tial that South Africa’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem moved with the dig­i­tal times.

In an in­ter­view in Durban on Fri­day, where the ANC is hold­ing its 107th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, Nd­abeni-Abra­hams said: “We can­not de­lay our kids any­more. At the age of two, chil­dren are sup­posed to be ex­posed to tech­nol­ogy if you want them to be in­no­va­tive. But now we have been left be­hind al­ready.

“We can’t af­ford to leave out our chil­dren in the fourth rev­o­lu­tion. And that is why as a min­is­ter of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, I would sug­gest [to Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa] to dig­i­talise all class­rooms.”

The min­is­ter, who is also the ANC’s Eastern Cape provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber, said tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment was needed most in her home prov­ince, among oth­ers, be­cause in­fra­struc­ture back­logs in these prov­inces had al­ready dis­ad­van­taged pupils there.

“It’s not about the school build­ing. If you give your son or daugh­ter that smart­phone, they know how to Google or get what­ever in­for­ma­tion to solve prob­lems that some teach­ers are un­able to solve.

“They are in­no­va­tive as young peo­ple. Why deprive them just be­cause there is poor in­fra­struc­ture?”

In rolling out a mas­sive dig­i­tal pro­gramme, she said the en­tire ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem would have to be over­hauled.

She said em­pha­sis would have to be on “in­no­va­tion, sci­ence, en­gi­neer­ing, maths, and most im­por­tantly, mother tongue [lan­guages]”.

Nd­abeni-Abra­hams said the world sys­tem which re­quired ev­ery­one to at­tend uni­ver­sity or col­lege in or­der to ac­quire skills was out­dated, say­ing there were on­line pro­grammes that could em­power the youth.

“We have got to move away from a the­o­ry­based ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to prac­ti­cal and in­no­va­tive ways of ed­u­cat­ing young ones and that is why I’m ad­vo­cat­ing pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion, en­gi­neer­ing, maths and lan­guages be­cause we can’t have ma­chines and IT sys­tems that are pro­grammed in Chi­nese and Ja­panese.”

Her rec­om­men­da­tions came a day be­fore Ramaphosa was sched­uled to ta­ble the ANC’s elec­tion man­i­festo at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium on Satur­day.

The most press­ing chal­lenge the coun­try faces to­wards the May gen­eral and provin­cial elec­tions is the high level of un­em­ploy­ment, es­pe­cially among the youth.

Nd­abeni-Abra­hams said, given an op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide so­lu­tions to the high level of youth un­em­ploy­ment, she would pro­pose that all civil ser­vants who were older than 65, be asked to re­sign.

“If you go to gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, you have peo­ple who are old.

“Some are 70 years, and oth­ers aged 65-plus but they are still fight­ing to re­main in the sys­tem and are re­fus­ing to re­tire.

“Why can’t we en­gage these peo­ple and say, ‘for the good of the coun­try, not that you are not adding value, can you re­sign?’

“They can con­trib­ute, per­haps as ad­vi­sors,” she said, adding that her great­est fear was that the skilled but un­em­ployed youth would one day re­volt and say, ‘no one is go­ing to go to work’, in protest.

“One day they will do that if we are not do­ing a thing about the high level of un­em­ploy­ment,” she said.

Pic­ture: ZINE GE­ORGE

IT’S TIME : Min­is­ter Stella Nd­abeni at the ANC’S 107th birth­day week­end.

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