One of the most pressing concerns about our fast-changing, tech-driven world is whether our slow-moving education system can effectively equip our children with the skills they need to thrive as adults. As South Africa's Department of Basic Education is in the pilot phase of rolling out the country's first coding and robotics curriculum, millions of our children are not yet accessing vital aspects of education that they need today to be successful in the 4iR workforce of their future.
Heatherlands High, Jade Felix 15, Ashlene Ackerman 15
Agile, flexible programmes such as 4iR Stream laboratories introduced in South Africa by Stem education specialist, Sakhikamva Foundation
are playing a significant role in filling the gap. The latest 4iR Stream laboratory has opened up at Heatherlands High School in the Garden Route hub of George thanks to sponsorship by project partner, Software AG
Ndazi Nokoane, transformation director at Software AG South Africa, says, “As communities, parents and school leaders, we have to be aware of how rapidly the world of work is changing. The top 10 jobs of today will be different in just two years’ time. AI and robotics are continuously disrupting the world of work. We must prepare children by giving them the knowledge and skills where they can live up to their potential in the 4iR context. Therefore, we have to be focusing on developing skill-sets in the Stream fields.”
Stream education, which is an acronym for science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics, focuses on enabling children to develop competencies which are at the fore in the 21st Century, such as complex problem solving, co-ordinating with others, critical thinking and creativity. With the opening of Heatherlands High 4iR Stream laboratory, learners will enter an exciting world of drones, 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence.
Heatherlands High, Jade Felix 15, Ashlene Ackerman 15, Antonio Carr 14, Courwine Mitchell 17
Ms Karen Dudley, Director GET Curriculum of the Western Cape Education Department, says, “We are delighted that Sakhikamva Foundation and Software AG have brought this fantastic 21st Century educational programme with its exceptional resources to the Heatherlands High school community. Learners and their educators are going to be able to have a hands-on learning experience that we hope will ignite new appreciation and passion for maths, science and technology in this under-served community.”
The Heatherlands High Stream laboratory includes tablets and drones as well as AI, robotics and app-making kits so that learners get to discover and experiment with the technologies that are currently re-shaping our world. The facility includes a 4iR classroom as well as a drone laboratory. Drone technology has much potential in George and its surrounds where there’s extensive coastline and significant agricultural activity. Principal of Heatherlands High, Salomo Moses, says, “We look forward to introducing our Grade 8 and 9 learners to this new program which will take them beyond the classroom to explore the fields of coding and robotics, and much more. The 4iR Stream lab will also foster opportunities for teamwork and developing leadership, communication, creative and design skills. With the opening of the lab, our school has taken a giant leap in providing a 4iR education where our learners can one day compete for the new types of jobs and be successful in the digital economy.”
Heatherlands High grade 9 learners_Kamil Kengne 15, Jayden Nondlazi 17, Sisipho Nongogo 15, Amahle Salmani 15
The Sakhikamva Foundation
has previously opened Stream labs at Lanseria Airport in Gauteng, Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology, Get Ahead College in the Eastern Cape, Goodwood College and Silverlea Primary in Cape Town. Through Stream laboratories and many other Stem enrichment programmes and activities, the organisation has engaged with more than 150,000 learners across the country. The roll-out of Stream laboratories is an ongoing effort to bring learners into quality tech spaces to explore, discover, create and learn new skills essential in 21st Century life.
Founder of Sakhikamva Foundation, forensic scientist and pilot, Fatima Jakoet says, “We welcome Heatherlands High and its school community into our family. We will be supporting and training teachers in Stream philosophy and teaching methodologies so that they can expertly guide their learners through amazing 21st Century learning experiences. The school’s 4iR Stream laboratory is a new community space for real 4iR skills development in George, fully equipped with tech and connectivity, to empower learners to develop as the leaders, innovators, change agents and problem-solvers in their community.”