South Africa is getting new ‘technical’ schools – here’s what you need to know

In his February State of the Nation Address, president Cyril Ramaphosa said that his government would introduce a number of new technical schools to meet the growing demand for skills in the country.

To expand participation in the technical streams, several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools, he said.

Responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A session, minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that government plans to have a technical high school in each regional school circuit.

“The time frame for the transformation and expansion of schools will be over a period of 5 years starting in 2020 – 2025,” she said.

Motshekga said that the following process will be followed for identifying and transforming these schools:

  • Identification of schools by the nine provincial education departments;
  • Mapping of schools in circuits to be undertaken;
  • An onsite audit of schools will be conducted by the national and provincial departments;
  • A Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) conditional grant will cover all schools offering technical occupational and technical vocational subjects.

Motshekga said that a number of costs will also be incurred including:

  • Infrastructure renovation and construction for workshops;
  • Provisioning of equipment tools and consumables for the technical specialisation subjects.
  • Spending on Human Resource recruitment.

New subjects

Government has made a substantial push towards digitisation and technical subjects in South Africa’s education sector in recent months.

In February Ramaphosa said that over the next six years government will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.

Ramaphosa said that the Department of Education would also expand the training of both educators and learners to ‘respond to emerging technologies’ including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence.

On top of coding and robotics, other new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, he said, including:

  • Technical mathematics;
  • Technical sciences;
  • Maritime sciences;
  • Aviation studies;
  • Mining sciences;
  • Aquaponics.

Read: South African schools set for major shake-up – and experts are worried

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South Africa is getting new ‘technical’ schools – here’s what you need to know