School was a hack! My teachers were jaded, the material was uninspiring, and besides chicks and sports the whole thing felt like a complete waste of time to me. It’s been two decades since I last wore my school blazer and if I’m being truthful, I don’t think there were many things that I learnt in school that gained me any significant advantage in the “real world”. Actually, every boring fact my teachers tried to drum into my skull, for years on end, can now be found in a second using an internet browser. Being able to memorise the capital city of every country in the world isn’t going to afford your kids the opportunity to buy a house and send their kids to private schools one day, is it? Understanding the anatomy of a mouse is about as useful as an asshole on your left elbow. And when did knowing anything about Hitler’s march through Europe ever help you out in a job interview situation?
Factual information isn’t enough anymore – skills, vision, creativity and practical know-how are what our kids need, to secure a future in a super competitive and ever-changing world. I’m not sure kids nowadays are learning the type of stuff they are really going to need in the future.
Here are 5 things I believe every kid should know before leaving school these days:
How to write & implement a business plan
Nobody really wants to work for a boss, do they? Every human being has a desire to live out their own dreams and aspirations and take charge of their own life. But, because we aren’t armed with enough information and a little practical experience, we sign up to a company at 21 and sweat their income statements for 3 decades before it all finally catches up with us and we kick the bucket 2 weeks into our golden retirement (that’s if you haven’t been shoved out and replaced by a younger, cheaper resource before then).
Imagine having left school knowing how to write and implement a business plan. Would you not have taken a stab at setting something up for yourself, rather than taking any crappy job you could find?
How to harness the web
WhatsApp has more than 1 billion monthly users. I don’t need to say much more, do I? Not every kid is going to have the aptitude to become a high-level computer programmer, but at the very least, every kid should leave school understanding the fundamentals of web design, digital marketing and some basic coding. The next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs is amongst us, and who’s to say it isn’t your kid? The internet is a game changer and it’s a crime not to provide our kids with the tools they can use to unlock the power of the web.
How about this for a final matric exam: “Write a business plan for an online business you would like to start”
Basic financial management
By the time I found out what accounting was, I had already left school. It’s a terrible thing to admit, but it’s the truth. Whose fault was that exactly? I’m not sure anyone specific is to blame, it was just a case of ‘take whatever subjects you want – but get through school so you can find a job’. You and I both know numbers are important. Every kid needs to know how to balance the books and know what an income statement is.
How to create & build
I remember a sail boat project we had to complete in standard three. We had two weeks to research sail boats, then build one using whatever materials we liked and we were graded not only on the quality of our build, but also on the explanation of the mechanics behind how a sail boat worked. The reason why I remember this project so fondly, is because I was excited about the thought of building something from scratch, and I spent every waking hour after school working on my masterpiece. I got a solid 75% for the project and I was thrilled (I still think the sail boat is sitting in a dusty cupboard at my folks place). My point is, we don’t allow our kids imaginations to run wild, do we? How much time do we set aside to allow our kids to think out of the box, to build and create? If I had it my way, I would place as much emphasis on ‘creation and building’ as we do on other redundant curriculum subject matter.
If I had a class of 13 year old boys, I would start a project to build a car from scratch. We would sit as a group at the beginning of the year, decide what car we wanted to build, procure the parts and spend an hour or two every day piecing it together. At the end of the year, we would sell the car (online), knock off the cost of the build and every student would share in the profits. The following year, that same class would be tasked to see if a business opportunity existed in the ‘customized car’ space and if we wanted to explore any opportunities.
Seems like a much more useful exercise to me than an Afrikaans begripstoets…
Real life skills
Our kids are going to get married, buy houses and cars, pay tax and open bank accounts. Some will get divorced, have to deal with a death in the family and might look at immigrating.
Filing an income tax return is about as exciting as President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address (fun fun fun). But unless you want to land up in court fighting the most efficient department in the country, you gotta file your taxes.
You see what I’m getting at, right? Surely we need to be prepping our kids for all this type of stuff they will inevitably have to deal with in the future?
It seems absurd that the anatomy of a mouse makes the curriculum but learning about contracts, transfer duties, bond registration costs etc is stuff you only get to learn about the day you enter the housing market..
Let us know if your kid is going to have the skills to pay the bills when he or she leaves school? What type of stuff you think the schools should be teaching.
Rate this post & leave your comments or suggestions on anything else they should be teaching kids at school these days?