Editor's Note

The future of education

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It has been a whirlwind month. Resignations have been the order of the day at the headquarters of the main political opposition party in South Africa, The Democratic Alliance (DA). Commentators have been calling it the internal self-destruction mode of the DA while some have been terming it a re-birth.

Whichever way it is termed, it’s important to remember the good role opposition politics plays in a functional democracy. The country needs strong opposition parties who ensure the state and power bearers are constantly kept in check. In essence regardless of party loyalties it’s important that the main opposition shape up and move on.

This issue of Leadership Magazine has a strong focus on education. Education is the lifeblood of any nation. Six South African universities where recently ranked among the top 500 institutions in the world.

Congratulations to University of Cape Town (UCT)-ranked 120 overall, University of Witwaterstrand (WITS)-ranked 200 overall, Stellenbosch University (SU)-ranked 329 overall, University of Kwa-zulu Natal (UKZN)-ranked 338 overall, University of Johannesburg (UJ)-ranked 366 overall and University of Pretoria (UP)-ranked 441 overall.

UCT retained its place as the top institution in SA while Harvard University retains its first place global overall ranking. African institutions are making great strides in exerting their influence and academic prowess among the top institutions in the world.

Having had the privilege of attending two of the top three institutions in SA from undergraduate to Postgraduate studies, I still believe African institutions still have to revamp their curricula. The world is changing daily and the future is being shaped now. Top institutions are mainly rated on their global research reputation, regional research reputation, number of publications cited among the top 10% cited, citations, books and conferences among others.

The scary aspect here is that there is no real world impact measurement. Research is essential, of that, there is no doubt. However the major deficiency of most institutions has been the readiness of graduates to grasp real world situations before entering the job market. Solid qualifications are great but real job ready skills are even more essential. Is it a coincidence that the major influencers/company founders/billionaires in the tech era are mostly university drop-outs? I am not so sure. Perhaps we need to start looking at the conventional tertiary education model and its relevance in this new digital era.

Education holds the keys to the future.

The question is: Is conventional education still the key to education needed today? I will leave it to you. Read, enjoy and grasp.

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