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No Ifs, No Buts We Need Reforms

IGNATIOUS NJOBVU
The illiteracy of the 21st century is not the inability to read and write, but the inability to learn, relearn and unlearn. We are now at some crossroad in our education system. 

Lots of investments are made by Government and Non-Government Organisation in quest for a quality education system. Are we really getting the return on these investments?

What path should we take as a country? Do we remain in the same course and hope for same miracle? Or do we make some deliberate adjustments on the course for change?

I am for the adoption of a new system, full of hope that one day our children won’t face the challenge of skills mis-match, acquire 21st century skills needed for adaptation, enrol in pathways of their own choice, thus calling for a more viable and attractive TVET structure and having a decentralised system where a well empowered principal takes full responsibility for what is happening and not happening in the school environment.

The illiteracy of the 21st century is not the inability to read and write, but the inability to learn, relearn and unlearn. We are now at some crossroad in our education system. Lots of investments are made by Government and Non-Government organisation in quest for a quality education system. Are we really getting the return on these investments? What path should we take as a country? Do we remain in the same course and hope for same miracle? Or do we make some deliberate adjustments on the course for change?

I am for the adoption of a new system, full of hope that one day our children won’t face the challenge of skills mis-match, acquire 21st century skills needed for adaptation, enrol in pathways of their own choice, thus calling for a more viable and attractive TVET structure and having a decentralised system where a well empowered principal takes full responsibility for what is happening and not happening in the school environment.

I do understand the financial repercussions for introducing such reforms. But the risk of investing in them is safer than the risk of accepting a continuation for the status quo. We must be alive to the fact that not every resource will be available

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to us whenever a change in course is sought. In fact, nobody or no situation has adequate resources at any given time. We change not because we have available resources at our disposal, but because the situation demands some reforms.

That said, what realistic reform can start by 2021? I will call for some Blended Learning. This is the use of traditional classroom teaching methods together with the use of online learning for the same students studying the same content in the same course. A blend of a classroom and web-based teaching and learning offers access to the widest range of learning modes and methods for developing student’s skills and expertise as learners (Cleveland-Innes, 2017).

As an affordable project to adopt, a blended classroom will mean allowing learners to use whatever tools at their disposal to acquire as much information as they can on a particular topic online, then use the classroom as a discussion platform for consolidation. This will put learners at the centre of their own learning. Equally, whatever amount of internet connectivity that a school might be having together with the personal gadgets and bundles that individual learners might be having, can be put to use for learning purposes.

As and when such internet infrastructure improve in schools, so will the blended learning approach. In this way, a significant step towards learner centralism would have started. By and large I am appealing for flexibility in our individual school policies regarding the use of personal learner gadgets such as smartphones and laptops. It is through the use of ICT that we can improve our technology and fit in the world of today.

Therefore, any opportunity available to us on the use of whatever technology should be utilised fully. We should come to terms with our public resource limitations of some infrastructures that are needed in order to enhance the 21st century skills. After which we should then let students use their own resources to harness such. It is called progress.



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