The Department of Basic Education has published a list of new subjects implemented in schools in South Africa over the last five years.
Many of these subjects are aimed at directly helping those school-leaving pupils who will not necessarily complete Grade 12, or enter university.
The subjects cover a wide range of fields, including agriculture, art, and various technology-related subjects:
1. Art and design
The primary purpose of the subject is to develop learners as creative, imaginative individuals who appreciate the arts and who have the basic knowledge and skills to participate in arts activities and to prepare them for possible further study in the art forms of their choice in Further Education and Training (FET), the department said.
2. Agricultural studies
Agricultural sciences is the study of the relationship between soils, plants and animals in the production and processing of food, fibre, fuel and other agricultural commodities with an economic, aesthetic and cultural value.
3. Ancilliary healthcare
Ancillary health care aims to teach students the meaning of health care and wellness and how these skills can be applied in everyday life. This includes helping students care for themselves, their families and communities, and the workplace.
Aquaponics aims to reach students about aquaculture with hydroponics, and the ultimate goal of growing plants. The subject also focuses on how aquaponics technology can be used as a possible food source in communities.
5. Aviation studies
Aviation studies cover general aviation theory to prepare students for work in the aviation sector.
6. Civil technology
Civil technology aims to develop the skills levels of learners from grades 8 – 9 to such an extent that they will be able to enter a career pathway at a further education and training college or a university immediately after obtaining the National Senior Certificate.
Learners will then be ready to enter into apprenticeships to prepare them for a trade test.
7. Consumer studies
Some of the issues that learners will learn in grades 8 and 9 consumer studies include:
- Consumer rights and responsibilities;
- Consumer Protection Policies;
- Channels for complaints;
- How to evaluate food outlets, clothing outlets, furniture and appliances;
- How to evaluate design features of interiors, furniture and appliances;
- Responsible buying behaviour;
- Responsible use of resources such as water and electricity;
- Ways to curb global warming.
8. Digital technology
Digital technology is the use of computers, applications and internet technologies to enable users to communicate, create, store, distribute and manage information and solve real-life problems using appropriate tools and techniques.
9. Early childhood development
Under early childhood development (ECD), the learner will be able to do the following:
- Understand how ECD centres are managed;
- Maintain a healthy and safe environment;
- Develop teaching and learning resources;
- Understand how babies, toddlers and young children develop;
- Demonstrate how to care for babies, toddlers and young children.
10. Electrical technology
Electrical technology aims to equip the learner with a firm foundation in electrical electronics and digital principles.
It provides a foundation of quality, standardised general education which will suit the needs of the learners and help prepare them for life after school and enable them to access particular employment or occupational workplace-based learning.
11. Hospitality studies
In grades 8 and 9 hospitality studies, the learner will study:
- The sectors in the hospitality industry;
- Career possibilities in the different sectors;
- Entrepreneurial opportunities in the hospitality industry;
- Responsible environmental operation;
- Principles for safety, security and hygiene;
- Menu planning and costing;
- Kitchen and restaurant operations.
12. Maritime sciences
Maritime sciences comprise four pillars: marine biology, oceanography, ocean ecosystems and humans and the ocean. The subject comprises 85 topics, including marine phyla, the chemistry of water, gas laws used for diving science, sustainable seafood, aquaculture and marine protected areas (MPAs).
13. Maintenance and upholstery
Maintenance covers the skills and knowledge required to perform elementary repair and maintenance work at a basic level focusing on the household and small construction environments.
Maintenance skills are used by handymen who prevent equipment from breaking down and materials from deteriorating to solve minor problems before they become more serious ones.
14. Mechanical technology
Under this subject, a learner will be able to:
- Adhere to and identify safe working practices and demonstrate safe working conditions daily, also adopting proper safety and first aid procedures;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanical industry and its productivity requirements by applying appropriate work procedures;
- Understand and interpret work instructions and drawings for the completion of projects;
- Apply mechanical technology, techniques, processes and skills, as applied in the fabrication and mechanical industry, using appropriate tools and measuring equipment.
15. Mining sciences
Cover the metals and minerals found and mined here in South Africa and the general science around mining in South Africa.
16. Personal care
This qualification recognises learners’ basic skills, knowledge, and values to operate within the personal care industry. It aims to develop learners who, after completion, will be skilled efficiently to prepare for entry into the industry.
17. Technical mathematics
Technical mathematics aims to apply mathematics to technical fields where the emphasis is on application rather than abstract ideas. Mathematical modelling is also an important focal point of the curriculum, and real-life technical problems are incorporated into all sections whenever appropriate.
18. Technical sciences
The main aim of technical sciences is to support learners in the three focus areas of technology, namely mechanical technology, electrical technology and civil technology. Learners will have an NQF level 4 competence in technical science.
Learners at technical high schools will be able to integrate scientific knowledge in a more informed way in their subject offerings in technology. Scientific concepts and skills are also more accessible to learners with a technical orientation in schooling.
19. Wholesale and retail
Under this subject, a learner will be able to:
- Explain the role of all role players and stakeholders in the industry;
- Analyse an income statement;
- Identify the requirements of outlets in terms of their service levels and product offering according to their target market;
- Receive stock and explain requirements for the dispatch of stock;
- Explain the concept and methods of merchandising products on shelves along with the importance of displaying prices and methods of ticketing displays;
- Explain why businesses promote, how to reach targeted markets and how to display promotional items;
- Explain how to record sales, accept and record payment and cash up and deposit takings.
New subjects incoming
South Africa’s inland schools will reopen on Wednesday (12 January), while the country’s coastal schools cluster will return a week later on 19 January.
Several new subjects are expected to be trialled and introduced in the coming year, including entrepreneurship and coding, and robotics.
The department said that 540 schools would be monitored nationally for implementing compulsory entrepreneurship education. The initiative is being driven by president Cyril Ramaphosa and is expected to officially form part of the curriculum by 2024. 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.
54 schools are also being monitored for piloting and implementing the coding and robotics curriculum. The subjects will form part of the curriculum at different school levels from grade R to grade 9.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has also announced the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL), which will target schools that did not offer a previously marginalised official African language.
The minister said that her department is also pushing forward on its plans for ‘mother tongue teaching’, with students allowed to both study and write exams in their home languages.