The education landscape in South Africa has taken a dramatic turn in order to adapt and to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Over the past year parents had to take on the role of teachers and dining rooms and kitchens have turned into classrooms. Being a third world country, South Africa was not as equipped as the rest of the world to switch seamlessly to online teaching and learning. The matric pass rate has decreased and schools in underprivileged areas that barely have access to proper sanitation are being left behind even further.
Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga has dropped a bomb on teachers and parents calling to amend the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) to include coding and robotics as part of the school curriculum from Grade R to 9. At face value, this is a very bold move to ensure that South Africa’s education system moves with the times and fit into 4IR, but let’s backtrack ever so slightly and just repeat a harsh reality: South Africa is a third world country and most schools do not even have access to proper sanitation – let’s not even get started on access to basic computers! The basic education system is not functioning optimally at all, but now there are big plans to jump ahead without strengthening the core foundations first.
The coding and robotics subjects aim to help learners become problem-solvers, think critically and work collaboratively in a digital-driven environment. The plan is to break study areas down as per the below:
Grade R to 3:
Grade 4 to 6:
Grade 7 – Grade 9:
Although this sounds wonderful, it still needs to be addressed that according to a study conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) only four out of ten (40.9%) of public schools have a computer lab! Further statistics from the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) as of March 2018 – found that schools in the Eastern Cape, KZN, and Limpopo were the worst affected when it comes to digital resources. According to the department, an estimated amount of R16 billion is required to provide computer labs with connectivity.
President Ramaphosa, is it not of the utmost importance that when you build a house you need to ensure that the foundations are unshakable? Unfortunately, our children’s foundations are crumbling before they have been laid!
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