I was privileged to go to Parktown Boys High where I matriculated in 1968. I was chosen as Head Prefect. All the pupils, over one thousand, were white, as this was at the height of Apartheid.
I played cricket, tennis, soccer and rugby and was fortunate to play the for South African Schools Cricket team.
After school I spent a year in the Air force doing compulsory military training and wanted to pursue a career as a professional cricketer and then my father died.
At this time South Africa had been thrown out of International Sport, so I pursued a career in conservation, tourism and wildlife filmmaking.
I was privileged to have 3 children, a daughter Savannah and two sons Sean and Tao who went to DSG and Saint Andrews College Grahamstown, respectfully.
The experience was profound to say the least, not only for the children, but for the parents as well. Many friendships were forged with other parents and remain to this day and the kids made friendships which will last a lifetime.
Unfortunately the majority of South African children cannot afford to have this extraordinary experience!
When I was born in 1950 there were 2.5 billion people on Planet Earth (15 million in South Africa). Today we are nearly 8 billion people. In fact every 14 months we add 100 million people to this Planet. It does not take rocket science to work out that our children will inherit a world very different to the world we live in.
I have watched with interest over the years how the animals that are adaptable thrive and the specialists fall by the wayside. We see thousands of impala because they eat grass and leaves. They are generalists. We see very few Sable Antelope because they eat very selective grass. They are highly specialised.
Although Sir David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Paul Watson and George Monbiot have done sterling work in the field of awareness, it is pretty well accepted that the Planet will be changed by the forces of nature. What I call Gaia (Gaia is the Greek Goddess of the Earth). Gaia will react in a way that protects the Planet not the human species.
Philosophers, Free Thinkers and Conservationists have likened the human species to Novak Djokovic at two match points down to the great Rodger Federer in the Wimbledon final. In short the human species had reached the eleventh hour!
So my question is Headmasters and Headmistress is how is our education system changing to equip the youth, that will by 2050, compete with 10 billion people.
I remember at DSG and St Andrews College great emphasis was placed on achievement. The Captain of the Rugby team, the Head Girl, the first in class had very high status. However it is pretty well accepted that the Donald Trump approach of big power, big money will become obsolete in the modern world. The ability to live in harmony and on a sustainable basis with the planet will be the key to the survival of the human species.
It has been suggested that human beings for their own survival will return to small communities interdependent upon each other.
Jane Goodall is urging us to grow our own food, to take the supermarkets out of play. So my question is, are we teaching kids to grow their own food?
The Chinese because of their large numbers are growing food on their flat roofs of their buildings.
Do we have a subject which shows young kids how to design a house which traps every drop of rain that falls and uses every ray of sunlight to power the house (At the rate Eskom’s going it may be obsolete by the time today’s school children are adults)
Inventions are one way that the human species may partially avert an impending disaster. Computers, cell phones, television, the internet, facebook, YouTube, solar power, nuclear energy, gunpowder have changed the course of history.
Elon Musk, born in South Africa is a one off freek. The world needs a million Elon Musk’s to invent things that can ensure the future survival of the human species.
Is there a subject in your school curriculum which develops the potential of a future Elon Musk?
Lastly Headmaster and Headmistresses is doesn’t matter what we do, what we invest in and how we behave, it will all be overwhelmed in the end by too many people on a finite ecosystem.
I spent a lifetime studying animal and human behaviour (they are one and the same). The sex drive, and desire to procreate sometimes overrides even the desire to eat
I mentor young Shangaan unmarried mothers in the Kruger Park area. Seven out of ten by the time they are 20 have had a child. The sex education at their school is non-existent. Condoms if they even know what a condom is, are not available at the clinics. They have been given no family planning instruction whatsoever. The HIV incidence is high, but the retroviral are expensive.
They live in an area which has one of the highest population growth rates on the African continent.
The method they use to finance themselves and their child is to draw R400 a month per child from the Single Parent Grant.
Therefore Headmasters and Headmistresses do you have a subject which tells the kids how they get pregnant, how expensive it is to raise and educate a kid, what impact the kid will have on their life and most importantly what impact the kid will have on Planet Earth. Every time the kid flushes the toilet, five litres of water disappear. (Julius Malema claims when he is President of South Africa he will give every South African a flush toilet. What Julius Malema did not say, was where the water would come from to flush the toilet)
Global Conservationists have suggested that if the human species could plant one trillion trees in the next ten years, we could combat climate change. (The President of Brazil thinks otherwise)
My question is do you teach children how to plant trees?
My final question is. How is the education system in South African adapting to a world that adds 100 million people to the planet ever 14 months.