The Department of Basic Education will introduce a new curriculum at South African schools to help equip learners for the developing world, says minister Angie Motshekga.
Speaking at the matric results presentation on Tuesday (7 January), Motshekga said that the curriculum is set to be introduced from 2021 and will enable learners to enter the world of work as early as possible.
“We will be piloting (the new curriculum) at 100 schools across the country in 2020,” she said. “We will then roll-out and implement the curriculum fully in 2021.”
Key to this new curriculum will be the introduction of subjects such as entrepreneurship, robotics and coding.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement on Tuesday, that these are critical subjects that will enable the country to meet the needs of the economy and prepare young people for the workplace of the future.
Ramaphosa has previously emphasised the importance of South Africans embracing a culture of entrepreneurship as the country aims to attract R1.2 trillion in investment over five years.
“We must look at what needs to be done to promote and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and an entrepreneurial culture. I have long said that entrepreneurial skills should be included in the basic education curriculum,” he said.
“Far too often our citizens are risk-averse when it comes to entrepreneurship, preferring the so-called comfort of gainful employment to the perceived insecurity that comes with self-employment.”
Robotics and coding
Ramaphosa previously pledged to introduce a number of technology-focused subjects to South African schools, including both robotics and coding, with teachers already being trained in these new subjects.
Motshekga has previously said that thousands of teachers are currently being trained in coding. She said that her department will also introduce a robotics curriculum from Grade R-9 which will have a strong foundation in engineering and will enable learners to build and operate robots through programming code.
“This robotics curriculum will not require any infrastructure or devices, but will need maker spaces to provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent; e.g., through cardboard construction activities,” Motshekga said.
These subjects will form part of a revised school curriculum which will ‘help equip learners for the developing world’.