‘Unlearning is vital for new teaching skills’

Rose Clemence Shayo

A twist in how technology is taught in schools in South Africa, as well as a change in teaching methods, was suggested for teachers and learners to adapt to the technological revolution the country is focused on. 

A breakaway panel discussion on ‘Skills and teaching in the 4IR: The what and the how’ took place earlier today, Friday July 5, at Gallagher Estates Convention Centre in Johannesburg. This was after the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa’s Digital Economic Summit gave insight into what is needed for the 4IR vision to succeed in the education sector.

Acting Chief Director: MST & Curriculum enhancement programmes at the Department of Basic Education, Mr Sekili Tlhabane, said the department would introduce subjects such as maritime sciences and aviation studies to help improve skills and competence in a changing world. 

Tlhabane told the audience “it will be important for us to understand that digital literacy is going to be very important. Teachers are going to be exposed to all these changes. They must be prepared for this.” He said, however, it was too early to tell if new methods would succeed or not.

Tlhabane said there were things teachers would have to unlearn in the process, to help with effective implementation of skills.

“Unless you understand your customers’ preferences, you will go down,” he said.

Des Hugo, head of learning and design at Nova Pioneer, told the audience “technology should not be introduced for the sake of technology; it should be integrated into everything”.

Hugo said they had a total of six schools in South Africa and four in Kenya. Their aim was not to teach how to use technologies, but rather how to become innovators of these technologies and “create the jobs for the future”.

Professor Elizabeth Henning suggested that children who would be affected by the changes should be included in decision-making on where changes were needed and how they should be implemented.