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  • Should schools be treated as business entities?

    There is a common saying from parents; children nowadays are far different from the yesteryear children that present day parents used to be. This notable difference is observed due to the nature of parenting that gives children all that they want. This phenomenon has culminated in children stressing out as they find school rules and regulations not only mundane but also taxing. The call for high schools being treated as business entities is a call motivated by the fact that schools are founded on the basis that they exist to serve, both, the learners and parents interest. Observations of day to day activities of schools reveal that the school's interests have become more important than the learners' interests. The question is, how has this is observation become so apparent?
    Another noted challenge, not unique to particular schools but typical in schools across South Africa, is the failure by many schools to consider the genuine interests of learners in the subjects taught in the lower grades. In grade 7, 8 and 9, learners are taught subject like Economic Management Science (EMS) and in upper grades from 10-12 they have a choice to do Accounting, Economics or Business Studies. Those doing Natural Science (NS) in lower grade have a Choice to do Life Sciences, Agricultural Sciences or Physical Sciences in upper grades. Regrettably, those who have found joy in Arts and Culture in grade 9 do not have the luxury of pursuing their interest in Dance, Music, Visual Arts, History and Drama.This is detrimental as it leaves them having to do what others are interested in, namely: EMS and NS subjects in grade 10 which does not favour their interest. This finding could be a game changer for the high schools, as it will and could add value to the learning interests of the learners. This finding is equally true of technological studies that are not even considered by many high schools despite the fact that most learners fell in love with those subjects. Strangely, the Department of Education insists that the entry point for a learner in high school must be grade 8 and later the very same high school fails to continue with the interest that learner have developed once they pass to grade 10
    Learners who are valued customers to the schools of their choice, tend to find all the disappointments when they go to their favourite school and find that all that they ever loved in lower grades is not offered. The poor educators are forced to teach the same disappointed learners subjects that they have no interest of learning, yet they are learning in the best ever school that they dreamt of going to. Imagine the disappointment of going to a school of your choice and not doing any subjects of your choice. In this case the children are not getting all that they ever wanted as they usually do at their homes.

    Learners through their parents, are valued customers to the schools yet they are not valued by the same schools. Taking into considerations the subject structure from Grade 9 to grade 10, what is seen on the photo can be implemented in a way that education system will be created to include subjects of choice based on the interest of the learner. The so-called customised learning may be inclusive to suite the interest of the learner. Every legitimate thing must be done to attract these customers. In fact, our customers, (the learners) are the real kings. Without them we don’t have a school; we only have a building. Further more if they lose interest in coming to schools then the fundamental purpose for the existence of the school will be lost and insignificant.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address at the 2019 Basic Education Sector Lekgotla, Birchwood Hotel, Ekurhuleni said “However, these social and economic trends also offer opportunities for wider access to information, innovation, higher productivity and a better quality of life for all. Now more than ever before, we need to think holistically about the development of children. From early childhood development to senior years in the schooling system, a vibrant learning environment must exist that frees the potential of our children.
    We must ensure that the limited resources we have are effectively allocated and spent in the interests of future generations”.

    With all these children showing signs of dissatisfaction with the schooling system where is their value as valuable customers? How are they going to add value to those resources allocated to develop future interest for the children if the education system is not customised to suit the very person it is intended to assist?

    Dr Satish Kumar says the meaning of education is to bring out what is inside a learner. He further says that schools and universities have a tendency of treating learners and students as empty vessels who must be filled with knowledge instead of assisting them to learn to bring out what is in them. Well, that is another discussion for another day.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa in the same address said “As we mark 25 years of democracy, our actions will continue to be anchored on our recognition of education as a key driver of fair and sustainable development”. Business mindedness of the education administrators ranging from educators going up will be the simple solution to the fair and sustainable development to which the president refers. ![alt text](![image url](![image url](image url**[bolded text]([link url](link url))**)))

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