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Education System Should Be Responsive

In a game of chess, sometimes one ought to sacrifice a piece in order for them to obtain favourable playing conditions. Sacrificing is an art meant to give oneself a competitive advantage. Normally the future turns to blossom as a direct result of the sacrifices made.

As he ended his inaugural speech that defined a generation J.F Kennedy said ‘ask not what your country can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country’. These words are very much applicable today if not more.

A significant number of people today have become a society with entitlement mentality, a society fearful of change to the benefit of stagnation and detriment of progress, a society whose interest is to reap what has not been sown.

Some of us are ready to throw away our aims and purpose overboard at the first instant of opposition or misfortune. Quitting has become part of our DNA. The concept of ‘Boipelelo’ is slowly becoming a thing of the past. It is said that a feather can be plucked off a bird without anybody noticing. We are slowly putting off some core values which can actually bring to fruition our dream of a diversified economy. To some extent, education has some bearing in this whole process. The basic education system is so passive and exam driven.

 The syllabus is very rigid and does not really allow for negotiations from the community and other stakeholders alike. Learners are provided with the content so that they can memorise and reproduce with no due regard of whether knowledge has been constructed.

The teacher is at the centre of all learning taking place. Motivation for learning is all dependent on the personality of a teacher who determines what is to be achieved. The curriculum is so overloaded thus giving little or no time for independent exploration.

It is a one basket fits all type of system, giving less room for appreciating and systematically nurturing other talents and abilities. I now sound like someone who has not benefitted from the current system. I have indeed gone through the same system and I very much appreciate what has become of me. It is actually exciting to note that education for KAGISANO has kept us together in peace and harmony for decades. Therefore, we cannot just discard what has brought us such enormous success.

I am simply advocating for a system that emphasises achievement of outcomes. What

becomes of a learner after completing a learning activity should be our primary assessment.

The learning programs should be designed by various stakeholders with the element of flexibility. The context of the curriculum must be industry based. It should respond to the needs of the economy at any particular point. The learning institutions must attract active learner participation, encourage team work, creativity, critical thinking and effective communication. Learning activities should be connecting to real life situations.

Assessment of the outcomes should come in different ways befitting the learning activity on an on-going basis.

In the same vein, students won’t just get marked for remembering subject content. I am advocating for a greater use of technology in teaching and learning.

This brings me to the sensitive issue of whether or not learners should be allowed to bring with them gadgets that can aid research such as smart phones and laptops. I say yes, let them bring and use them to enhance sources of information. Besides, we will be encouraging learning by targeting instruments that are fashionable to them.

For all this to happen, there is need for a change in attitude by the very people running the system including policy makers, policy implementers and policy consumers. Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘when you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength’. I guess the notion from that statement is that achievement and hard work go hand in hand.

It calls for lots of focus and sacrifice. We need to let go of activities that are of less priority or have become obsolete. Our attitudes must be upright. If we decide to wait for someone from wherever to come and probe change for us, then we are in for a very long waiting. Let me finally urge my fellow citizens especially the youth to self-introspect.

Let us ensure that we focus on our priorities. At the policy level, I advocate for a decentralised government processing system, a vibrant private sector and most importantly a responsive basic education system.

This will certainly propel creativity to greater heights, thus promoting a knowledge based economy.

Opinion & Analysis

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