School curriculum changes to boost jobs in South Africa: minister

 ·22 Mar 2022

Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga says the government’s move to a three-stream curriculum model is expected to better prepare students for the working world, and develop the skills necessary to become manufacturers and producers of goods and services.

Students in South Africa have historically been pushed to study towards a matric certificate to gain university or college entrance.

The ‘three-stream model’, which began its pilot phase in ordinary schools in 2021, instead proposes three equivalent streams – aimed at steering students towards multiple learning pathways such as academic, occupational and vocational.

“Through this model, the Department of Basic Education seeks to strengthen the offerings of subjects that equip learners with skills and competencies that enable them to fix, maintain and build products, such subjects include woodworking where learners are able to build chairs, tables, cabinets just to give an example,” Motshekga said in a recent parliamentary Q&A.

Learners are also offered hospitality subjects which include skills such as how to cook, Motshekga said.  The products produced through learning these subjects may be sold during open days at schools as well as to individuals who are willing to purchase them, she said.

“Children in Agricultural schools are not only taught how to produce agricultural products, but are also taught entrepreneurial skills, and how to access the markets to sell their produce.

“These are some of the efforts of the Department offer curriculum that teach learners how to manufacture and produce goods and services which can be consumed by communities they reside in.”

Focus on entrepreneurship and IT skills 

The Department of Basic Education also plans to increasingly focus on incorporating entrepreneurial and IT skills in its three-stream curriculum, it said in its 2022/2023 annual performance plan published this week.

“Learners should be equipped with entrepreneurial skills that encourage job creation responding to education skills transfer for the future,” it said.

“The emphasis will be on improving learners’ skills in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Financial and Scientific Literacy, along with critical thinking in problem-solving; creativity; communication; and collaboration.”

The department said it will also focus on a curriculum response to skills; the preparation of teachers for curriculum digitisation; teaching and learning methodology change and the integration of ICT skills in the three-stream model.

“Teachers are the strength of the Department and must strive to capacitate educators in soft skills and curriculum support in collaboration and inclusivity with education partners and stakeholders.”

Read: 4 changes coming for schools in South Africa

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