The future of education
As trends in future education and careers change it’s important to ask yourself where your child fits in.
In April 2019, the Department of Basic Education announced some changes to the curriculum. It’s planning to add eight new subjects, including coding and robotics, as a way of preparing children for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the everchanging and developing work sector. The department also plans to introduce a General Education Certificate that would allow pupils to leave traditional schooling after Grade Nine to follow a technical vocational or
Not all children are built for mainstream schooling, simply because their interests may lie beyond what’s offered by the normal curriculum. Understanding your child’s learning style, personality and interests is crucial in giving both of you the tools to make the right decision for their future. Educational expert Lisa Illingworth, CEO of FutureProof, breaks down the trends in the future of education for the next three to five years and where your child would thrive.
Seeing education as a business
‘Independent school groups, like SPARK Schools and Nova Pioneer, will continue appearing for the foreseeable future,’ Lisa explains. These kinds of schools aim to equip pupils holistically to overcome the challenges they face in school and those they’ll face as adults. While most of these schools were previously too expensive for many parents, the new-age kind are coupled with business models that make independent, private schooling accessible to middle-income groups. SPARK Schools and Generation Schools are examples of a blend between good business practice and a citizenry approach to education.
Is this for you?
At schools like SPARK and Generation, each child learns at their own pace, as parrot-fashion learning is discouraged in favour of individualism and critical thinking. This is an excellent option for parents seeking private schooling for
their kids, but can’t afford the more popular institutions. Beyond monthly tuition, SPARK Schools aims to limit additional costs for SPARK scholars and their families. For example, its tuition fees for 2020 are R25 500, which are much lower than more expensive private schools, with tuition fees averaging R200 000 (for tuition and boarding) and R100 000 (tuition only) per year. SPARK has campuses in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Visit: Sparkschools.co.za
With so much happening in the world, and children exposed to it all through media, parents may feel ill-equipped to keep up with the challenges faced by their teens. That’s why so many parents seek guidance from professional
therapists and life coaches, for themselves and their kids, to learn coping mechanisms. ‘Schools and parents will increase additional support in the form of coaching and mentoring from professionals, particularly in the high school phase of education, where parents battle to cope with the volatility of their teenagers,’ says Lisa.
Does your child need it?
School ‘coaching’ would work best for younger children and teens who need additional support to deal with building emotional capacity and high levels of anxiety. With the inputs and ‘noise’ that these teens need to assimilate into their
mental stage, they need all the support they can get. Crawford and Beaulieu Colleges have encouraged coaching for
their teens for a few years now. Beaulieu College works with professionals on a case-by-case basis, where it organises a life coach to work off-campus with a pupil, if necessary. The school also has psychologists and psychiatrists available. Visit: Beaulieucollege.org
The current national sentiment, that traditional schooling is irrelevant for the world of work which children are entering, will continue gaining support over the next five years, resulting in increased ‘niching’ into smaller, specific educational segments, argues Lisa. ‘Niching will not only include skills and knowledge segments, but also focus on the emotional wellbeing of the child. Leadership and stewardship will take centre stage, followed closely by coding, entrepreneurship and design. The market appetite will grow towards a blended offering of all of these and smaller institutions that offer such programmes will see an upswing in interest.’
Is this suitable for your child?
If your child shows a specific talent or interest at a young age, this type of school will allow their abilities to be cultivated early. Art schools like the National School of the Arts (offering academics, music, dance, drama and art) and Pro Arte Alphen Park (offering hospitality, enterprise management, visual arts, music, dance and drama) offer specialist fields for kids with a particular talent. Future Nation Schools is a group of independent schools offering a
futuristic and technology-enabled educational model. It encourages self-teaching, where pupils study at their own pace and learn the national curriculum, integrated with project-based learning (PBL). In PBL, pupils work on projects for extended periods, during which they learn to research and respond to an engaging and complex issue or challenge. The schools focus on leadership and entrepreneurialism and offer computer programming, robotics and
other skills. They also offer Mandarin as a first additional language. Visit: Futurenationschools.com
In most classrooms it’s a top-down, one-size-fits-all curriculum. The teacher needs to be heard at all times and the learning pace is dictated by the curriculum and how much knowledge the teacher can convey in a single lesson. ‘With the diverse and deep accumulation of information on the Internet, the teacher’s role should shift towards training pupils to learn and assimilate knowledge. They have the chance to become shapers of healthy, engaged and responsible citizens. By being taught self-awareness and self-management, pupils can identify gaps in their own education, choose the channel by which to acquire that knowledge and, with the help of an educator, shift through it to create their own learning trails,’ explains Lisa.
Is it suitable for your child?
‘Children who have high levels of self-awareness and a strong need to direct themselves would thrive in this kind of environment. They challenge the educational status quo, are able to make informed, well-thought-out personal decisions for a variety of options and have demonstrated success in doing so.’ Not many schools and education systems around the world have introduced this idea as successfully as Finland, which gives pupils rights and agency over their own learning.
Mindfulness as part of the curriculum
Is your child stressed and anxious? You’re not alone. It seems that everyone is experiencing burnout these days, including children,’ says Lisa. Kids are very sensitive to what’s going on around them, whether at school, at home or in their social circle. ‘As a result an increasing number of children are experiencing behavioural and emotional issues. In response, some schools internationally have begun introducing mindfulness into the curriculum. Mindfulness has been proven to increase calm, combat anxiety and encourage focused and participatory learning. Schools can introduce it as a five-minute daily meditation or as a relaxation technique during a class.’
Does your child need it?
Although it hasn’t been introduced into schools’ curriculum, you can sign up your kids at your nearest facility that offers it. The Institute for Mindfulness South Africa offers a range of mindfulness and coaching intervention classes. Visit: Mindfulness.org.za. Connected Kids helps youngsters cultivate self-awareness, as well as identify, express and manage emotions. For further information, visit: Connectedkids.co.za.
FEATURE: NOLWAZI DHLAMINI PHOTO: STOCK.ADOBE.COM