Dear Minister for Education,
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to redesign the country’s’ schools. I have noted your observations that the system has let us down and young adults are now leaving school not knowing how to read, write and with many having a bad attitude. My suggested changes should address all these issues.
From an early age reading, writing and arithmetic must be relevant to the world in which the child lives. Fun is the key to learning at this age and the child has to ask to want to learn more. The basics have to be taught with the child not knowing that they are learning, being achieved by numerous activities such as gardening. The child believes that gardening is the lesson he/she is learning. Enriched by watching the plants grow they also learn to work as a team, about measurements, arithmetic and, the biology of plants. They will also learn to read instructions, to multiply as they work out crop yields and learn to invoice and pay bills as they make new orders etc. As they progress they could sell their produce to the cookery school setting up a business model to do so.
Other activities could include cooking. Again many skills such as reading and arithmetic would be learnt, as well as nutrition and the child would have the added advantage of providing their own lunch made from the fresh produce purchased from the garden business.
Daily hook ups via the internet with children from a country which speaks a different language e.g. France, New Caledonia with some days being a French-speaking lesson, other days English. Playing games with the children from other countries will give children a second language as well as other skills dependent upon the game played. The same thing could be done with hook ups to children in e.g. Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia where the children would learn about differences in religion and culture and also learn tolerance.
It is essential in these early years that their creativity be fostered and some of their ideas be acted upon in the carrying out of projects. Reading relevant poetry to the child’s level will be introduced and books read and analysed. Local governments should use the children to plan gardens and play areas. This will also teach basic skills but also encourage children to consider all sectors of the community. To this end as well, weekly visits to old people will be carried out where the old people will tell the children stories of olden days and history thereby engendering curiosity to find out more. The young people will enrich the older person’s life.
Another facet of the education system will be life skills. Anger management, being a team player, public speaking, learning to deal with both success and failure and discussion of other social issues such as use of alcohol, tobacco and sexual issues are to be included here.
I propose that lessons as above be carried out between the hours of 10 am to 4pm and that non-compulsory lessons in English, Maths, history, geography, and science be available on request between 8am – 10am and again from 4pm – 5.30pm. I believe that the children’s own curious nature will make them want to learn more at the time appropriate to the child’s own development. The rare child that does not do any of these extra classes will at the very least leave school with good life skills and basic reading, writing and arithmetic.
With increasing age the variety of projects can be added to with carpentry, automotive mechanics, plumbing, farm projects, business management, event management, theatre, writing and art. Inclusion of current affairs and politics, global health, world poverty and world peace in the life skills segment will occur. Again school hours would vary between those chosen electively and a curriculum which teaches in a way that is easy to learn. It would be envisaged that the engaged, bright student spends almost an entire school day on electives whilst the more average student spends more on learning via life skills.
A more detailed proposal will be submitted to your office on request. The proposal if implemented will see less illiteracy, better arithmetic skills and most importantly an emerging adult who cares about his environment, his fellow humans and will strive to live in harmony with all.
Looking forward to hearing from you.