From compulsory preschool to curriculum changes – here’s what the ANC wants to change at SA schools

The ANC released its 2019 election manifesto on Saturday (12 January), which touched on a number of topics including land reform, free healthcare, and renewable energy.

The party has also promised to overhaul elements of the country’s current education system, with the focus now shifting toward ‘quality of education, while improving access’.

“Quality education must lead to higher learner progression through institutions, and high completion rates in schools, TVET colleges and universities,” the party said.

“Unlocking the energy and creativity of South Africa’s young and working people, by building their skills and capacities, is critical to the eradication of poverty, unemployment and inequality.”

To achieve these goals, the manifesto indicates that the ANC is preparing to make two years of early childhood development compulsory for all children.

This compulsory enrolment will apply to all South African children between the ages of four and five and will take place before the child enters grade 1.

In line with this proposal, the manifesto also outlines a number of changes to Early Child Development (ECD) in South Africa, including:

  • Extending the core responsibilities of the Department of Basic Education to include the provision and monitoring of ECD;
  • Providing a comprehensive package of ECD services (birth registration, social assistance, parenting support and quality learning);
  • Standardising guidelines, norms and standards for ECD and setting the employment targets in the sector over the next five years;
  • Developing a plan to take care of the first 1,000 days of human life, from pregnancy until two years of age, in which the pregnant mother will get good nutrition, be encouraged to stop smoking and drinking alcohol and undertake antenatal care visits from an early stage. The baby will have good nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding, immunisation and growth monitoring;
  • Promoting different models for delivering home and community-based ECD.

Changing the curriculum

The ANC has also proposed a number of other changes aimed at shaking up basic education in South Africa. Some of the more notable proposals include:

  • Appointing adequately qualified teachers whose subject content knowledge is at required levels;
  • Implementing a ‘new innovative way’ of assessing learners through the National Integrated Assessment Framework for Grades 3, 6 and 9 as a replacement for Annual National Assessments (ANA);
  • Amending the curriculum to prepare learners for the fourth industrial revolution;
  • Prioritising policies and strategies targeting the achievement of quality teaching and learning outcomes by enhancing the skills and competencies of educators, including the school management team comprising the school principal, deputy principal and subject heads.
  • Fast-tracking the promotion and implementation of indigenous language programmes, including finalisation of language legislation in provinces for inclusion in the school curriculum.
  • Promoting study of history in schools.

Read: A look inside a new R100 million government school

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From compulsory preschool to curriculum changes – here’s what the ANC wants to change at SA schools