3 changes are coming to schools in South Africa

Minister of Primary Education Angie Motshekga has announced several changes to national assessments and subjects in schools in South Africa.

Presenting the budget vote of her department at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday (June 15), Motshekga announced that Khoi, Nama, San and sign languages ​​will be officially introduced as additional topics in the school curriculum of South Africa.

The Minister also provided further details on the proposed policy change to promote mother tongue education and learning in schools.

“We have increased the number of languages ​​in the sector. We have added additional languages ​​to our list of topics; they are Khoi, Nama, San and also African sign languages.

“If it had not been for the disruption of Covid-19, the introduction of Swahili would have begun in our schools. We are still following it and Tanzania and Kenya are ready to help us finalize language plans in South Africa. To introduce African schools, “she said.

Language change

Motshekga also told the House that it was time for South Africa to start a serious debate on mother tongue education and learning, as at present children only learn in their mother tongue up to group three and then switch to English or Afrikaans as a learning tool.

“More than 80% of children continue to learn in a language that is not their mother tongue. I think we are the only continent that teaches children in a language that is not their home language, and this continues to contribute to underperformance and poor performance. We need to have a policy change in this area, “she said.

Motshekga gave an example of the Eastern Cape province, which provides mother tongue education from group 4 to 12. “It appears that pupils who have learned in their mother tongue perform better. “Other provinces are on the way and we will soon report on the progress in mother tongue education in our schools,” she said.

The Minister added that if children are to read meaningfully at the age of 10, they should, like all other children in the world, do so in their mother tongue as they expect them to read meaningfully in a language that they do not understand.

New certificate

The Minister has also announced that the department is introducing a certificate for general education for group 9. It will be tested at 268 schools nationwide and in 2023 it will be extended to all weeks.

The GEC is intended to formally recognize student achievement at the end of the compulsory school phase. Its primary purpose is to facilitate subject choices outside of Grade 9 and articulation between schools and TVET colleges.

Under the current system, hundreds of students leave the school system each year without a qualification, preventing them from finding jobs, the department said.

While the department has reiterated that this is not a starting point for students from the school system, the certificate will provide better decision making for students, especially those who can shift the focus to more technical subjects and crafts instead of a monolingual focus on a college or university education.

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3 changes are coming to schools in South Africa

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