South Africa’s high unemployment rate, the massive number of citizens dependent on grants, and high levels of despondency and delinquency amongst our youth are interlocked aspects of a single problem – a dysfunctional education system.
If South Africa could get education working again – with a curriculum relevant to today’s needs, not last century’s needs – it is likely that a whole host of associated problems would resolve fairly effortlessly.
Had the powers that be poured far more energy and resources into education 25 years ago, would we be where we are today? It is impossible to tell. But we can be pretty sure that if we leave things as they are educationally, the social fabric of the next 25 years may be even more warped and dysfunctional than it has been, particularly in the last decade.
Where do corporates come in? These days, they come in everywhere. The combined muscle of the CSI departments of South Africa’s corporates has been instrumental in changing small pockets of entrepreneurship, the health system, agriculture, early childhood education, rural development and tertiary education, among others.
Now we’re calling for a more focussed five or ten years in which CSI rolls up its sleeves and gets more broadly and deeply involved in reshaping our education system from top to bottom. Our next issue of CSI Matter will be entirely devoted to the vital topic of education. And we’re looking for your company’s views and contributions to this seminal issue for the future of our country.
Mission Educate 2030 – what it means
Education, in our view, is more than the acquiring of a certificate. Currently we are producing matriculants who cannot innovate, analyse, evaluate or create – all the higher order functions of thinking. We’re also failing our many talented individuals whose skills lie in non-academic pursuits such as sports, the arts, and technical and mechanical subjects.
Our goal with Mission Educate 2030 is to find common ground between corporates, NGOs and government to seriously impact education in the next ten years. By 2030, we want to see a cohort of learners entering tertiary education or the job market with the ability to think on their feet, adapt, collaborate and apply their minds in ways that will benefit society and earn them an income.
CSRNEWSSA is already engaged in investigative journalism in search of ideas and practical suggestions for where corporates might best lend their weight. To revive education is never going to be a one-party undertaking. It will need the contributions of a committed private sector.
Mission Educate 2030 – the theme of our next issue of CSI Matter – looks at where corporates can make the biggest impact in education. We’re not just talking about curriculum reform, but about the education system, the infrastructure, the training of teachers, and even – if your company decides this will be its focus – about nutrition.
There is a place for all in a holistic understanding of CSI; it is a case of ‘mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive.’ Each stakeholder – whether government, company or NGO – has its own exclusive and vital role to play, so that together, collectively, we cover every aspect of a dysfunctional system and get it working.
What will be your focus area?
Two key focus areas will form the backbone of our June 2021 CSI Matter:
- From cradle to career: Creating a curriculum that answers real needs of the 21st century.
- Infrastructure, administrative support, teacher training, transport, nutrition – all the components of a functioning education system.
Cradle to career
We’ll be looking for your ideas on the content of a relevant curriculum, along with the role that your company can play in shaping such a curriculum.
We’ll look at the world our learners will inherit – a world where it is not what you know that counts, but how you think.
Not ‘Do you know the formulas?’ but ‘Can you think like a scientist?’ Are you adaptable, multi-skilled, able to apply knowledge across a spectrum of situations? Can you research on your own, evaluate the trustworthiness of a source, and can you adapt your approach as needs change? Moreover, do you have the social and emotional intelligence to remain resilient when life throws curve balls at you? A moral and emotional compass is as important as the mental and physical skills to survive in a complex world.
Infrastructure, administrative support, teacher training, transport, nutrition
Curriculum changes are not for everyone. Some might prefer to focus on equally valuable aspects of getting schools working, such as helping to fulfill basic needs. When we talk cradle to career, we are, of course talking about every aspect of those first twenty years of life that shape people into who they will become.
There are roles for every CSI practitioner here – schools need administrative support, they need working apparatus, they need sports fields, libraries, help with transport, sport coaches, supplementary material. A corporate might focus on an annual schools’ competition, sponsoring a reading programme, or a team of subject experts to work with a cluster of schools. The options are endless. What is needed is coordination between companies, NGOs and government. This is not an impossible mission.
Be a part of Mission Educate 2030, and make a difference
Contribute to our June 2021 issue of CSI Matter and stand to reap the following benefits:
- Position your company as a leader amongst your peers in the CSI field.
- Take up the challenge and outline your CSI plan for the next decade with a renewed focus on education.
- Through our pages, meet innovators in education and consider collaborations with featured NGOs.
- Share your knowledge, expertise and experiences in the field of educational support with other captains of industry.
Mission Educate 2030 will see a revived public and private sector working together to bring sanity and hope to a limping education system. Let us streamline our efforts for enhanced effectiveness. In so doing, we may save a generation of school-goers, whose potential is crying out to be unlocked.
To learn more or to understand how you can participate – download the education winger here (click me)