The latest education statistics show that top universities have seen international enrolment figures drop significantly in response to new restrictions on student visas in the US, and tuition hikes in both the US and the UK. Non- citizens can pay up to 50% more in tuition fees compared to UK citizens. The drop is by no means an indication of a lack of interest in world class education, but rather an affordability and border restriction issue.
Seeking to avoid these pitfalls, the continent’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs) are pursuing solutions that allow their children to fulfil their academic aspirations without becoming entangled in risky or unpredictable visa application processes. One increasingly popular approach is acquiring alternative residence or citizenship rights that ensure access to some of the best schools and universities in the world.
It is difficult to overstate the value of education in broadening our children’s horizons and building networks that last a lifetime. Education is absolutely central to securing their future in a rapidly changing world. It is a fundamental priority and a lifetime investment in human capital. The notion that many face the constraints imposed on them by their countries of origin is an unfair one but poses a legitimate need for better opportunities.
Is South Africa’s Education system ready for the 4th IR?
South Africa is faced with an employment challenge spanning across numerous levels. The skilled workforce is not 4IR equipped. Much less interested in technological concepts and comfortable with the status quo. The millennials and GenZ’s are more exposed to artificial intelligence but are experiencing alienation in the workplace by those who are skilled. A paradigm shift in the business world is of paramount importance.
According to the Allianz Global Wealth Report, six million South Africans (about 10% of the population) are middle class. This is the class that can afford private schooling for their children, buy devices for their education, and have the privilege of robotics classes incorporated into the curriculum. Half of the population lives below the poverty line and can barely afford the minimum stationery necessities.
The education system is widely segmented and addressing the digital revolution from grassroots level will require collaborated effort between government and big business. While corporates have the responsibility to equip employees and prepare them to be 4IR ready, their corporate social investment (CSI) should go toward the evolution of the entire education system to upskill the next generation workforce.
Until such time, South Africa will continue to experience phenomena such as brain drain and immigration. The solution must come from both ends of the spectrum; schools and the workplace. An equipped workforce will be able to retain jobs, contribute to the economy and improve the quality of education and quality of life in general. After all, these are the key factors that drive immigration trends.