Why School is Failing.

We must open our eyes to the bigger picture. School is failing, and it is failing all over the world, because it has not kept up with the changing needs of society. The type of school that most of us attend comes out of the Industrial Age and is based on the factory model.

We must understand that the factory model with its standardised curricula provides generalised skills that lead to certification of individuals to seek work not create their own employment. It does not provide entrepreneurial skills because people’s ambitions are being moulded towards dependency, finding work, getting a job. The factory-type school turns out units for labour.

School-leavers look to others for employment: in private sector and government institutions, They are dependent and helpless because they have been brainwashed to believe that with a matriculation certificate they can get employment.

But we have moved into a different world, a computerised world. Today factory-type labour is becoming increasingly irrelevant. 
Machines are rapidly replacing human labour. One day we may not even need a military – with the development of unmanned weaponry, robot bombs and drones, we will not need soldiers. So the kind of mass employment that emanated from industrialisation is becoming antiquated. And because a matriculation certificate does not equip one for self-employment, there will be increasing joblessness and unemployment. And our rape statistics, the highest in the world, and our crime statics, will grow out of control because we have a society of disempowered people.

We have to be realistic. What the society needs are people with specialised skills not a generalised education with a Matriculation/General Education Certificate that is an affirmation of a lack of skills and a statement that further education and training is needed.

Why are we wasting twelve years of schooling on education for DEPENDENCY. A standardized academic curriculum is not the answer. Schools should become smaller and cater for specialised interests and skills, entrepreneurship and on-the-job training.  And specialization should begin once children have acquired high competency in reading, writing and numeracy. Then their particular talents and interests should be identified and they should be sent to specialised schools, where in addition to their specialization which must be accompanied by on-the-job training, they need to become computer literate and also be inducted into entrepreneurship.

We have to get rid of the factory school because it is preparation for dependence. And societies need enterprising, independent individuals who will build the society and its economy. Factory-type schools turn the majority of students into beggars; people begging for employment and when they cannot find work, literally become beggars.

And we have to stop inculcating snobbery. We have to rid ourselves of elitist notions of work. The society does not need people waving matriculation certificates, it needs people with skills: technical and technological skills. We need technicians, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, carpenters, painters, far more than we need corrupt politicians. If we truly believed in equality, we would not relegate any form of work to inferior status. Democracy means respect for all and that includes every individual’s skills, from the skills of a domestic worker to the skills of a scientist.

The schooling system needs radical change. But we are so inured to the idea of the factory-type school that we are terrified of change; instead we cook the books to produce better matric results and continue to deny children an education for independence.

If we haven’t read Alvin Toffler’s books, we need to read them. Future Shock, The Third Wave and Power Shift provide us with analyses of human development and contexts for understanding the upheavals that we are experiencing.

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