One of the areas I am truly passionate about is education. This is the reason why our company, The HRW Group, set up the REDiMFUNDO Trust and try to better the face of education in our beautiful country.
But how are things going to change, post COVID-19? I was watching my 3 kids the other day doing their school work from home. It literally took them 3 hours each day to finish all their work. I am very fortunate and grateful to be able to send my kids to a private school – but at R10,000 per month per kid of after-tax money? Is it worth it? Is it becoming unaffordable for most people? I was chatting with a good friend of mine who’s kid is in grade 9 and due to the nature of his work, he moves around and hence his kid is doing an online learning syllabus with live teaching. I was shocked and amazed to find out that it is only costing R15,000 per year. That’s right – R15k per year. Imagine paying R15k per year and putting the other R105k per child away into investments. That means without interest, over 12 years, you are able to invest R1.2m extra per child. This would probably be worth R2m in value over that period. Times that by 3 kids, is R6m that you will have extra. That’s not taking into account the amount you pay for school uniforms, books, teachers’ presents, etc…How amazing would that be, to have that extra disposable income?
Sadly, the schooling system globally has not changed or moved forward since World War I. The world has progressed and changed to a digital world, but education seems to have stayed the same. I honestly can’t remember the last time in business where I needed to know how to draw the thorax of a locust? Or when I last needed to understand the Theory of Pythagoras? Or Sin, Cos, and Tan in Trigonometry? The world of education needs to adapt to a more modern world, don’t you think? Teach the kids some business principles. Teach them accounting skills or how to win in a business meeting. Teach them how to cook a great meal and even how to dance. Teach them how to code and the world of artificial intelligence and new-age digital techniques. Teach them different languages that assist them to be more worldly in a totally globalized world.
I personally believe that the new world will involve more online learning. Please don’t confuse online learning with home-schooling. Home-schooling is where a parent will teach their own children – that will be a catastrophe!!! Online Learning is where the curriculum will be online, children can learn at their own pace and have the opportunity to have live teachers and courses online and be able to go back to the teachers recorded lesson too if they missed something. It will also enable kids to be able to learn subjects that are important to them and more relevant to each individual too (of course there will still be the mandatory subjects like two official languages, mathematics and the respective social sciences at the younger ages).
So why would this be a little controversial? It means that schools, as we know them, would become obsolete unless they really change their ways of doing things. The reason why we pay such obscene amounts is due to the fact that schools need to pay their teachers, their maintenance staff and maintain their grounds. In Egypt, I have heard that some areas have more children than they have schools, so what the schools do is they have shifts in schooling. They have 18 hours of school, with 3 shifts of 6 hours. This way, they utilize the schools to the max and all their facilities. Kids and teachers come in the morning for 6 hours, then leave and then the next batch comes in the afternoon and leave and the final batch in the evenings too. We could do this too in our schools and this way, the school earns more revenue, it won’t cost as much for each kid, and wait for it – WE GET TO PAY THE TEACHERS MORE MONEY TOO. I am a big believer that our public servants should be paid more money – our teachers, our nurses, our policeman, our firefighters, etc…
I have read several reports that indicate what I am saying, is already going to happen. A lot of parents are not going to be sending their kids back to school and rather adopt an online learning approach. Imagine you can have an au-pair for 3 hours or a teacher who can assist you daily with online learning? The kids will be able to finish school each day in less time. The teacher can do 3 hours with one lot of kids and 3 hours with another set of kids and earn more by doing that too.
Now, most people will say it sounds good, but what about the social aspect? Let’s face it, from what I have seen in lock-down, most kids are socialising over the internet on Fortnite, or on Tick-Tock or over Whats-App anyway. Kids will still do their normal extra-curricular activities and socialise with others at ballet or at dancing or at soccer practice or at rugby practice. They will still do their piano or guitar lessons as extracurricular activities. I think they will get as much socialising as they normally would get, if not more. They will also be able to socialise with other young people that are not necessarily the same age (which let’s face it, in the real world, you need to be able to talk to and socialise with others that are different ages – I think the term for it is called Horizontal and Vertical Socialisation).
With globalization too, online learning will allow kids to study different country’s curriculums. Imagine being able to study the American school system, if your plan is to eventually live in America, or the Cambridge system if you would like to live in the UK. Globalization is becoming a big buzz word and this may just be the solution too. Imagine being able to study at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Yale from your own country and get a qualification from those Ivy League institutions – now that will be really cool, wouldn’t it!!
So interesting times that we are living in. I am quite excited to see how the world will change after this. I look forward to positive changes. Perhaps more tolerance? Less crime? Less Pollution? More Kindness?
Wishing all my viewers and readers good health, prosperity and only good things ahead