Friday, March 4, 2011

The Education System is Failing Us

I have believed for some time now that the education system is failing us. Other people have been saying the same thing, but for reasons other than why I think the system is failing us.

After working corporate South Africa for the past six years, I have learnt a few things that school never prepared me for.

So, in order for the Department of Education to step up their game, I have devised this handy list of features we need to see in the future. Things that I believe will turn the youth of today into people that are better prepared to enter the corporate world.

First things first though. Children will no longer be allowed to go to school close to home. The youngens will now be expected to attend school approximately 30 to 65 kilometers from home. They will now have to travel by bus, car or motorcycle to school. Through rush hour traffic. Leaving at sparrow fart, in order to be there at 8 AM.

No longer will school run from 8:00 till 14:00. School will run from 7:30 to 17:00. With enough homework to keep the little buggers busy until midnight or later.

Then you away with first break and second break. You now have tea time and lunch.

In order to have the youngens prepared for what awaits them, during lunch several teachers need to approach them and ask them random questions. That is what happens to us in the real world. You’ve got your McDonald’s take away burger halfway mouthwards when your phone will ring. It is usually some customer, somewhere, asking you a random question. By the time the phone call is finished, your burger’s gone cold and the ice in your Coke has melted.

To make the playing field even more level. While in math class, the geography, history and language teachers need to barge in and ask random questions about the subjects they teach. Same should be true for any subject the student/pupil/learner takes.

At some stage it will be important to throw in a handful of project managers.

Project managers are the bane of any working person’s existence. Especially if the project manager does not have a clue about the project they are managing.

Therefore, in order to prepare the youngens for working with project managers, and customers, I have a plan. It is a cunning plan.

If a student is taking science, present them with a project. This project will be managed by another student. A student that has absolutely no knowledge of science, like for instance, an accounting student. The accounting student will then be in charge of meeting with the teacher to “understand” the requirements of the project. The accounting (AKA project managing) student will then have to communicate these requirements to the science student who will actually be doing the project.

The science student will then have to do their own research. They will not be given any tips. All they will know is what the eventual outcome of the project should be.

Project managing student will then set some unrealistic timelines, and communicate those timelines back to the science teacher without telling the science student.

At all times will the science student be told as little as possible.
Eventually, given the cock up caused by the project managing student not knowing the subject matter, the science project will be late. Science student will get penalized and project managing student will come out smelling of roses.

That is my plan in sort of a nutshell.

Far too many people enter the workplace having no idea how corporations, and the real world, works. Far too many don’t have an idea how frustrating working with a project manager can be. This will teach them.

Go forth and teach.