According to southafrica.info, 18% of people over that age of 15 in our country are illiterate. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 9 million people are not functionally literate in South Africa. How can these education statistics ever hope to be improved when currently one out of every three school attending children do not have work books?
Tony Blair was once quoted as saying that the three most important priorities of his government would be “education, education and education” – and yet so many of us fail to recognise its importance while still at school. Don’t worry – I’m not going to jump onto my high horse and start preaching about how school is the best days of your life, and that you should appreciate your education (although, really, you should) but as a tutor, I’m starting to realise more and more how important it is for young children to realise that there really is something to be grateful for.
According to the Huffington Post, college graduates earn 84% more than High School graduates. Education pays – quite literally. So how can you make the most out of your education and the wonderful opportunity that has been afforded you – someone privileged enough to attend a good, if not great, school? I’ve made a list of my top 5 tips to get the most out of your education:
1) Always do your homework
This one is probably the most obvious – and it really is the most important. Homework is not an evil device invented by a sadistic terrorist with a long goatee and a top hat, designed specifically to torture you and keep you away from Gossip Girl reruns or MTV. It’s there to help you practice what you learnt that day, and discover any problems that you might have BEFORE your exams.
2) Ask questions
If your teacher, or tutor, says something that you don’t understand, ask for another explanation. That’s what they are there for – and at the end of the day, it’s better to be slightly embarrassed in class, than awfully embarrassed when exam results come back.
3) Take subjects that you are passionate about
In South Africa, we only get the opportunity to choose our subjects for the last 3 years of school – and it is so important that you make the right choice for YOU. Have an honest discussion with your parents about where your interests lie, and then follow your passions. Not in grade 10 yet? Choose essay, speech and project topics (whenever possible) that suit things that you love. It’s much easier to write about something you know than having to do endless research about a topic that you find boring. If you choose something you love – it will always show in your marks.
4) Do an extramural activity
Most schools offer a huge variety of things that you can do after school – be it a sport, cultural activity or even a service to the school. Any one of these things will make you feel more passionate about school, and give you something to look forward to. It also looks great on university applications if you are a well-rounded pupil.
5) Admit when you don’t understand
There are so many avenues open to students these days that there is no need to struggle through your homework alone. If you don’t understand a section – or if a whole subject is Greek to you – admit it to yourself and your parents as soon as possible. Being weaker in a certain area is nothing to be embarrassed about – everyone has their own strengths and weakness. Do extra examples. Ask your parents for help. Get a tutor. Having one-on-one tuition with someone experienced in that subject will go along way in preparing you for your exams long before there is a mad panic and rush a week before the exam. It is never too early to start preparing for matric!
Did you know: The Wright brother’s first flight was a total distance of only 36.5 meters – which is shorter than the wingspan of a Boeing 707!