A few days into 2015 and two weeks from the start of the new school year, we already know that our matriculants have not faired well in Mathematics and Physics, Economics, Mathematical Literacy and Home Languages. We know that 23 subjects at Grade 12 level had there marks augmented, whether up or down.
We also know that thousands of Grade 7s, 8s and 9s have progressed through mark adjustments and years-in-a-phase consideration. We also know similar numbers of Grade 11s are sitting in Grade 12 under the same criteria, i.e. Years-in-a-phase.
At the time of writing this post, we are 3 days away from knowing how many of the more than 600 000 Grade 12s across our country have passed. Everybody in our sector anxiously wait to hear if the pass rate is higher, lower or unchanged. Everybody is also waiting to dissect the results to conduct the annual post-mortem thereof.
But this post is not about this reality. The world is not just about what's happening in our neck-of-the-woods. Let me share a few advances that has taken place in 2014 in the field of science and technology. Among others, these are:
- 3d Printing - this technology is currently being developed to print a complete heart after infusion of a patient's heart cells - it is envisaged that this will be accomplished in the next decade, allowing a replacement heart to be printed in 1 hour.
- Currently, sited in France, a project team involving over 20 countries is busy building a plant that will allow it to create more energy than the Sun. If successful, through nuclear fusion, our energy concerns would be over.
- NASA has advanced plans to send a manned mission to Mars by 2030 and that the space capsule under development was successfully tested in 2014.
- Aircraft manufacturers are working on jets that will run on hybrid technology or be fully powered by electricity thus cutting down significantly on Carbon emissions. It is expected to be commercially viable within a decade or two.
In all-of-the-above innovation, the experts involved would have attended a school somewhere in the world where their curiosity was appropriately guided by thoughtful and caring teachers. I'm also sure that many of these experts, as students, stretched their teachers more than the reverse and that their educators were not threatened by it. I'm certain their educators embraced them and early on recognized their potential to influence the world.
I'm sure that we too have students sitting in our schools that have dreams of reshaping the world as we know it. I'm sure they often share their thoughts with their fellow students and I hope, teachers. And often these dreamers are not the most vocal of voices in our schools. They almost live in the shadows. I ask, over the next few days as we scrutinize the results of our school leavers of 2014, that we remember to highlight those sitting-in-the-shadows too...those dreamers who want to change the world but are often encouraged to stop dreaming!