Edition 3

Preparing children for the Four th Industrial Revolution, Prof Sarah Gravett

What is meant by a competency-based approach? One could debate that some of these skills are not new. Critical and creative thinking,

Prof Sarah Gravett, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg, wrote an opinion piece printed by the Mail and Guardian on 19 January 2019. In her article, she examined the challenges that South African schools and teachers face preparing children for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as 4IR. 4IR in relation to school education A written ministerial statement by the Department of Basic Education refers to a report by the Brookings Institute that found the South African school curriculum has embedded in it the skills required for a changing world. These include critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, collaboration and teamwork, communication and information literacy, as well as social justice and human rights. The statement also revealed the need for the basic education sector to refocus the curriculum on a competency-based approach, integrating 21st-century abilities into all subjects.

and problem solving through schooling have been around for a long time. Teaching the four Cs (critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration), which are widely promoted as key 21st-century skills, could go some way towards preparing the youth to deal with complexity and uncertainty. South Africa’s predisposition Poor infrastructure and a struggle to deliver basic teaching is a reality that many South African schools face. Improving the basic skills of our children, namely literacy and numeracy, is essential. They form the framework for success in education. But, focusing on these do not need to impede nurturing the other competencies that children need to negotiate the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

Digital technology in schools The roll-out of connectivity and digital technology at schools is important. “I am, however, not convinced that providing each child with a digital device is the best way to use scarce resources”, said Gravett. “Although, digital technology could serve as valuable mediational tools if used purposefully. The availability of digital technology at schools will also facilitate the teaching of digital and information literacy. However, having digital technology in schools does not equate to education for the 21st century”. Changing the South African basic education curriculum In her article, Gravett mentioned that curriculums loaded with content make the immersion of



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