The Department of Basic Education is updating its curriculum to ensure that the children coming from the South African education systems are equipped with the skills that will ensure they are ready to either become tech entrepreneurs or enter the workforce from day 1 of graduating from high school.
This is according to Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who was presenting at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations on Wednesday (17 July).
“(The) South African government has developed Coding and Robotics curricula Grade R-3 and will complete Grade 4 to 9 before the end of 2019,” she said.
“This curricula will provide learners with understanding and will develop their skills and competencies to prepare them for the 4th Industrial Revolution. The curricula will ensure that our schooling system produces learners with the foundation for future work and equip them with skills for the changing world.”
Kubayi-Ngubane said that the coding curriculum will develop learners’ ability to:
- Solve problems, think critically and work collaboratively and creatively;
- Function in a digital and information-driven world;
- Apply digital and ICT skills;
- Transfer these skills to solve everyday problems.
“Using University of South Africa’s (UNISA’s) 24 ICT Laboratories located throughout the country, 72,000 teachers will be trained to teach coding to primary school learners,” she said.
“We will do this in partnership with civil society, academic institutions and businesses such as Africa Teen Geeks and international players like MIT.”
Kubayi-Ngubane added that the Department of Education has already developed a framework for ‘teaching and learning of coding’.
“Coding requires a dedicated platform and the Department with the assistance of Google and other Big Businesses through Africa Teen Geeks are developing a coding platform that will utilise Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to customise learning and teaching.
“This Coding platform will be available in all 11 official languages ensuring that rural and township children will be introduced to coding in their own mother tongue in line with this government mission to provide an inclusive education accessible to all,” she said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said that the Department will pilot the coding curriculum in 2020.
“Throughout this year we are preparing the system to ensure that the schools are ready for full implementation post 2020. Each township and rural school in the country will be appropriately resourced to ensure creation of an enabling environment,” she said.