- Created on Monday, 01 October 2012 15:48
- Hits: 684
There is no doubt that there is a genuine need in South Africa for critical thinking to be applied throughout our education system to ensure that graduates who become new employees are better equipped to withstand the constantly changing and highly competitive world of work.
While there are pockets of excellence where critical thinking is being encouraged and championed, this has largely been the exception rather than the rule in our education system. This deficiency negatively affects the workplace, as employers are finding it difficult to find potential employees with the right skills to make meaningful contributions in a highly competitive business environment and knowledge-based global economy.
Lack of critical thinking
The conspicuous lack of critical thinking in our education system is more evident in the World Economic Forum's 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report, which ranked South Africa a deplorable 132 in terms of Quality Primary Education. This unflattering phenomenon is despite the fact that South Africa has one of the highest rates of public investment in education in the world, at about 7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 20 percent of total state expenditure.
There's even greater inspiration for our country to better its education system because thought leaders across the globe have earmarked the African continent as the next frontier for growth. The Institute for Security Studies states that, by 2032, Africa will have a larger working population than China and, by 2036, a larger worker population than India. Nevertheless, for South Africa to play a key role in the estimated growth, we need diversified skills to enhance our competitive edge.
Immediate but sustainable solution needed
The state of our education system certainly demands an immediate but sustainable solution to address the imbalance between the education system and the ever-escalating demands of the corporate world.
To counter the need for recruits who are better equipped to withstand the highly competitive world of work, organisations in various industries have resorted to on-the-job training as one of the solutions. This measure can potentially yield results for job functions that don't require specialised skills, but in highly competitive sectors such as financial services, these methods are clearly not enough.
To enhance their competitive edge, leading organisations across the globe have adopted the Learning Academy and Graduate Recruitment systems to develop personnel. Within Nedbank Group, our academy forms an integral part of our people-development philosophy and offering, which already includes a well-established bursary component, a highly effective graduate programme, and an extensive array of personal- and career-development opportunities for employees.
A big challenge ahead
Although South Africa has a big challenge ahead in ensuring that our education system is adequate, it is a challenge that can be addressed through a co-ordinated and integrated approach. Collaboration and teamwork between educational institutions, academia, the government and the private sector is necessary if sustainable progress is to be made in the best interests of South Africa and its people.
In South Africa, most leading organisations are already investing heavily in education through the development of their employees. Significantly, within Nedbank, we've adopted a holistic approach, which seeks to address all levels of development, and we continue to see improved results, which augurs well for the sustainability of our business and the growth the South African economy.
There are no quick fixes to improving our national critical thinking capacity on education, but the results we could reap from a solid and productive education system are beyond any measure. The success of our education system could also play a key role in transforming our economy, because at the present moment, Statistics South Africa states that of the 25 percent unemployed, over 40 percent is made up of young people, Africans in particular.
The challenge that we face as a country is indeed great, but certainly not insurmountable. As a country, we need to understand that the skills and competencies of our population are a fundamental indicator of South Africa's potential for economic growth.
By Abe Thebyane on Bizcommunity.com