The following opinion piece was contibuted by Minda Marshall, co-director and co-owner of Lectorsa, a leading research and development company (based in Mokopane, Limpopo) that supplies solutions internationally to the education and training market.
We are already full speed into 2018 and at Lectorsa we believe that this is the year of bigger, better, more. 2018 is going to be the year where we should see an important change in our education system.
Last year South Africa was presented with hard facts: A staggering 78% of gr 4’s in the country cannot read for meaning and according to Dr. Nick Spaull, “the ‘real’ gr 12 pass rate for 2017 is around 57% meaning that 43% of the youth in SA still get no qualification whatsoever”.
It is also important to realise that quality education is currently a big challenge, not only in SA but also globally.
At Lectorsa we are up to that challenge. The World Economic Forum recently predicted that robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030. These facts and predictions can bring us to a rather gloomy view of the future, however, I strongly believe that we should be very excited about the sweeping changes that are ahead of us.
Jack Ma (business magnate, investor, and philanthropist) recently indicated at the recent WEF Conference that as humans we should not try to compete with machines, to clarify, even Usain Bolt won’t be able to outrun a speed train. The changes ahead of us should inspire us to find invigorating new ways of living beneficial and fulfilled lives in the future – and as educators, we should prepare our students for these exciting times.
After attending EduTech Africa in October 2017, I was inspired to see thousands of educators from across the country pursuing the latest in teaching strategies, cutting-edge technology and solutions so that they can shape an educational environment that will be more relevant in the 21st-century and beyond.
This has just proven once again that there are many people that share our passion for improved cutting-edge education – educators who have a heart for children and who want to stay abreast of times. They want to empower the next generation to look ahead with confidence, knowing they are competent to excel in the workplace.
We were in the midst of drafting our 2017 report when the news of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results broke and made numerous headlines: ‘78% of grade 4 pupils can’t read for meaning.’ “This suggests that the majority of learners cannot read well enough to succeed in subjects across the curriculum in Gr 4 and higher grades,” Prof Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator (NRC) for PIRLS 2016 South Africa, stated.
We are already busy changing this by bridging this gap and we have the results to prove it: In 2017 alone, we had more than a 1000 gr 4’s from schools across SA enrolled in our on-line solution, LAB-on-line. Their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved by 17% and their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) increased from 83 to 185 words per minute. Their Action-Interpret and Understand skill levels (combined VPF and CDF multiplied leads to an AIU Factor) improved with five years. This means that when these
Gr 4’s did the placement test, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing LAB-on-line, their skill level had increased with 5 years – a year above the expected level.
I believe that these results are a powerful testimony to what can be achieved through accurate intervention and development.
Thomas Marshall, Co-Director of Lectorsa, recently said, “There will never be a more powerful and opportune time than NOW.” 2018 truly is the year of bigger, better – MORE!
Let us create a synergy in 2018 and build a bright future NOW through effective education.