The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has confirmed that it will introduce coding and robotics as subjects in South African schools pending approval from education regulator Umalusi.
The ministry made the announcement during a parliamentary briefing on February 16, during which it presented an updated progress report on the implementation of the new topics.
Once Umalusi makes a decision on the proposed program, the government plans to implement a pilot project focusing on grades R-3 and 7.
The pilot project will be implemented in 200 schools across the country for the youngest learners and 1,000 schools, in all provinces, will offer the subjects to their 7th grade students.
A national training team is expected to know the ropes in March 2021, after which it will train educators in April.
Once they have received the necessary training, the new program will be taught by existing educators.
The ministry said it will ensure that schools, which will offer robotics and coding, are well equipped to do so and that equipment and computers will be maintained.
In March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced – during the State of the Nation address – that subjects would be offered at grades R to 3 in around 200 South African schools within the year, according to Government Communications (GCIS) . Ramaphosa said the most important contribution the government can make to inclusive economic growth is the development of the necessary skills that learners will need for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The chief director of mathematics, science, technology and ICT at DBE, Seliki Tlhabane, echoed Ramaphosa and said the department’s plans will equip learners with the skills they need to “function as members of society according to the changes occurring around them ”.
“Going forward, if a citizen doesn’t have digital skills, he couldn’t function,” Tlhabane said. “Understanding how the technology works will be very important.”
According to the ministry, the program was written by a diverse team of writers, which included specialists from the DBE and the Provincial Education Department (PED), stakeholders with expertise in coding and robotics – from business and from sister ministries. – as well as academics from five universities and the NGO sector.
The Council of Ministers of Education (CEM) has given the green light to the program. The Department said that Umalusi is currently evaluating and ensuring the quality of the program and that once its comments and recommendations are received, it will be used to strengthen the program.
“The Minister will also invite the public to comment on the program. These comments from the public and from the teachers who run the program will be fed into the program to strengthen it, ”the ministry said.
Once this process is completed, the Minister of Basic Education will promulgate the curriculum as a policy and it will become part of the Program Evaluation Policy Statements (CAPS) and an official subject that schools can offer.
According to the Ministry, there will be three teachers per pilot school and all provinces have appointed educators from their founding phase and 7th grade, to receive the training, which will be delivered through face-to-face and face-to-face lessons. line.
|Province||Number of R-3 level schools|
|Province||Number of grade 7 schools|