Sizwe Nxasana, the Founder and CEO of Future Nation Schools and Chairman of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) recently delivered a keynote on “The Future of Education” at the 3rd edition of the Education Innovation Summit.
Nxasana highlighted the importance of education, especially at an early age and furthermore spoke about the importance of technology in the educational sector.
South Africa needs to rethink its education system and adopt a vastly different approach to learning in order to adequately equip students for the future in the digital age. These are some of the fundamentals that need to be addressed, according to Nxasana.
“As we know, the first thousand days of a child are the most important years, hence we really need to rethink how we approach and we teach our children from an early age,” he said.
“Education is not just about acquiring skills. The way in which students are taught needs to be realigned, so as to teach them skills that will enable them to be active participants in this journey of disruptive technology that is affecting human development,” he continued.
Speaking on the role that digital technology plays in transforming education in South Africa, Nxasana said that technology should be an enabler of the learning and teaching process of solving of the problems that may occur, we should be thinking of technology on how it improves the learning process.
In a connected and digitally enabled classroom, the teacher is no longer the sole source of knowledge. Instead, they become a facilitator and students become active and engaged participants.
Future Nation Schools has developed an integrated pedagogy, across the board, where teachers have widespread and varied knowledge that goes beyond the subjects they teach. This will ensure that students are not taught in silos.
Nxasana also highlighted some challenges of digital technology in schools such as the lack of understanding by developers and teachers. “There are a lot of technology applications that are developed by people who are technologist or who are innovators who have never been in a classroom, then we have teachers who are supposed to use this technology in the learning and teaching process and you find that they themselves are not familiar in these developed applications and platforms”.
However, conferences such as the Education Innovation Summit are important because they’re all about the transferring and sharing of knowledge. It’s about best practice.
“The solutions have always been there, they have just not been documented. If we are not careful in how we develop African knowledge systems, we will be the subjects of other people, who see opportunities at our doorstep. We need to change this as Africans, policymakers, government and entrepreneurs,” he concluded.