05 Oct
  • By Eelco Lodewijks
  • / Blog


Accelerating technology has resulted in rapid growth in information and knowledge, which is doubling every year, or less.  Furthermore, many of these new technologies are just that “RADICALLY NEW”.  Therefore, the old industrial era STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) education system is no longer good enough to serve us into the future. 

In future, all logical, repetitive, boring and manual jobs will be done by Automated systems and Robotics.  As Data Mining, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Robotics advance, many people will become unemployed.  However, there will be many more new jobs for them, but those will require reskilling and/or further education.  In addition, humans will in future have to focus on softer skills that computers can’t do, such as innovation, creativity, kindness, compassion, to name but a few. 

There is little doubt that the Government run education system in South Africa is behind the curve in an era where good education is becoming increasingly important.  In addition, the quality of the dated education pupils get is very poor, because many teachers are not properly skilled, able to pass the national exams set for their children, managed or motivated.

In future, as our global knowledge accelerates faster and faster, no education system in the world will be able to keep up with the rate of change, unless it is an online system.  This suggests that knowledge will be expanding so fast that even higher-grade teachers could struggle to keep up. Therefore, with accelerating new technologies and an exploding knowledge base, education will become an increasingly important ever-present ingrained part of our lives.  i.e. We will never be done with education.

So, if the gap between the skills in South Africa and the rest of the world is going to keep getting bigger, the question is how we stop that from happening.  I do not believe we have enough time to try to catch up, as it would take 20 years for the Government ship to change direction.  Therefore, the answer is, in my opinion, that all South Africans need access to free high-speed broadband Wi-Fi.  In Estonia Government made this happen. 

If everyone has access to Wi-Fi, the natural curiosity of children will drive many to the tons of free online information and courses.  They will somehow find “hand me down” smartphones or tablets.  They will teach themselves to understand and program, as has happened in the rest of the world, where teenagers are making scientific breakthroughs.  Many will compete with each other to show who can find the most interesting stuff online.  India ended up producing extremely cheap smart devices, so that everyone could have one, to enable exactly this.

Whatever SA does, we must make sure our kids have access to Wi-Fi and Smartphones or Tablets.  Vodacom has a small LTE device that provides Wi-Fi at reasonable prices.  I accept kids may choose to play games, so one will need to find ways to manage their time.  It is also important that they do not spend all their time on these Smart devices. 

Please comment or ask questions.  We would love to hear from you.

More about this in my book Technology Tsunami Alert, which will be launched mid-2020. 

Please also read the Gold/Silver and Investment chapters on my EelcoGold website.