Most of us in South Africa need to be adequately prepared, trained, educated, informed and directed towards possible actualization options and opportunities that exists today, specially with regards to required coping and life skills to deal with the chaos of the present and the uncertainties of the future.
Presently precious time, efforts and funds are wasted due to unnecessary duplicating of “support” actions, assessment activities and the supplying of “true” knowledge or information. Quite often we are “handicap” (i.e. mentally imprisoned) by “scientific” knowledge, which are often viewed as of the utmost importance, indispensable for a future workplace and regarded as a final solution to most human problems that we might or could experience.
Needless to say that it often happens, that we are taught technical skills allowing us to deal efficiently with workplace processes, BUT little or no attention is paid to life skills and coping mechanisms (understanding and dealing with the modern social climate). Resulting in “producing” educated and trained “monkeys“. Thus, people with expert technical (workplace) skills and with limited or no life skills to effectively apply such acquired technical skills to deliver a positive contribution towards the solving and/or to address a sudden or unexpected crisis.
Quite a saddening state of affairs, because life (our values, needs, wants, expectations, priorities) should dictate the work we do, and the work (business, economics) SHOULD NOT dictate our life’s.
Decision makers should stop applying politically and economically “correct” policies and decisions, and should rather concentrate and accommodate the following in decision making:
- FIRSTLY that decisions taken today, influence tomorrow and help to shape a future South Africa. Thus, decisions taken should not be in one’s own interest, for the short term or to straighten out past injustices, but it should be for the long term, beneficial to the future and to serve as an investment in and inspiration for us (especially the young people of today), restoring our hope for, our dreams and expectations for the future.
- SECONDLY that South Africa contain substantial resources, such as under utilized manpower and plenty of wasted opportunities. Therefore, the technology, available to us, should be employed to serve everybody, creating a future and not destroying or limiting it to specific communities or groups of individuals. Therefore, effectively, replacing one unacceptable discrimination policy with another more acceptable policy.
- THIRDLY decision makers in South Africa have an important educational task. This implies that all adults (parents, teachers, employers, educationalists, …etc.) should be actively involved to formulate work related training and educational criteria, valid for all peoples in South Africa. Enabling individuals to perform as responsible working adults and not educating or training them for the sake of being trained. Thus, purposeful and “life-marketable” oriented education and training. Presently, initiatives such as Curriculum 2005, NQF, the Educational, Training and Labour Act, seem to take the first wobbly steps in the desired direction.
Almost everybody realize the importance of focused education and training, but they also realize that it is a long term process, and that there are no quick fix solutions or recipes that can be followed. Accountable educational and training restructuring is going to take some time to materialize. Unfortunately time is running out – FAST -, and we do not have sufficient funds, to address present educational tribulations, let alone the introduction of a planned and goal directed restructuring for future educational and training activities in South Africa.
Thus, THE PROFOUND QUESTION to ask is: “What could be done immediately (NOW) to prepare individuals to cope with present problems that hey may experience and to provide them with guidelines, confidence and skills to handle possible future obstacles?” The answer or solution to this question can be dealt with in quite a complex manner, BUT in simplified terms (KISS), the answer is: To equip and prepare people (especially youths) with the required knowledge, experience and mind sets (self-empowerment and psyche management) to pursue future life goals with confidence and start taking decisions (make choices) that shape their future and not restricting it.
Individuals, the fibre of any society, without the necessary guidance, facilitation, direction, goals, ideals and expectations, cannot perform and contribute to build a better community. We need to TRUST our own future, the things that we are working for and believe in. Without an appropriate life and career strategy firmly in place, we looses the contest of life, even before starting the race. We should be exposed to relevant and up to date coping and life skills (strategies) to solve most of life’s basic predicaments.
The primary focus, for research and development activities within SASCEC, are geared towards developing and maintaining processes and/or “tools” to prepare individuals for present and future life/work place demands. Thus, all research and service activities are directed by the following to a greater or lesser extent…
- To replace a close-mind with an open-mind, through interactive educational and training workshop or facilitating sessions.
- Adequate problem solving strategies and techniques in order to deal with a variety of possible obstacles with relative ease.
- To collect, process, manipulate and validate information to determine informational relevancy for solving a specific problem and/or it’s applicability for a particular situation or event.
- Applying and utilizing the modern technology effectively, to enhance human performance (energies) and NOT to REPLACE human contributions.
- To extent general knowledge and enlarge universal awareness, to enhance possible specialization activities, to mainly counter act a “restrictive” thinking pattern (mind prison) and to encourage a more holistic approach to life.
SASCEC’s research and development activities, as listed above, are focused on achieving the following outcomes or results…
- Communication and social skills to efficiently function and contribute to a combined group or team effort, when dealing with and solving problems.
- Identify and solve problems by using creative and critical thinking, on an individual basis, BUT also within a group/team context, if and when necessary.
- Organize and manage activities responsibly and effectively.
- Accept, respect and apply human diversities to deal with complex situations more efficiently.
- Collect, analyze, organize, digest and critically evaluate information, as a basis for efficient planing, developing strategies and solution formulation or hypothesis.
- Use and apply science and technology effectively with responsibility towards the environment and other people, thus to become technological wise.
- An Understanding that the world, as a whole, is a set of interrelated systems and mutual dependencies.
- Develop an ability and awareness to reflect on and explore a variety of strategies to learn and gain experience more effectively.
- To participate as responsible citizens (emotional-mature adults) in the life of the local, national and global communities.
- To become culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts.
- Being able to explore education, training, entrepreneurial and work opportunities to create and establish a meaningful and purposeful strategy for life.
There are not only hope, but optimism, because South Africa is a country of limitless opportunities, where all people could prosper. If the people of South Africa could develop a mind set where there is respect for one another’s diversities, different traditions and cultures, then coexistence in harmony becomes a strong possibility. A country that bears an enthusiastic youthful driving force could emerge, and such a South Africa could become a significant power to be reckon with in future, enhancing living standards and opportunities for all individuals in the country.
Why did the once powerful British Empire disappear? Not because of some catastrophe, but an attitude and mind set change. The attitude that once prevail of a participating, active, enthusiastic, youthful strive, changed to a passive, theoretical and inactive intentionality. Not our minerals, nor our technological knowledge and spacious country can save us from certain destruction.
But we still do have a bright future ahead of us, once we bury the hatchet and combine our present resources with a well informed, suitably educated and trained generation fuelled by a youthful optimism and attitude. Thus, do not try and change South Africa, assist and support each individual to change …and… when enough individuals has changed, South Africa will also change in the end.