Pretoria: The African language pilot policy of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) will continue, the department said on Tuesday.
The pilot project, the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL), has not failed as suggested by media reports, the department said in a statement.
The department said these classes were only being piloted, and that the pilot was only a few weeks old.
“It is far too soon to judge the success or otherwise of the pilot. The purpose of the pilot is to identify challenges in the implementation of IIAL in order to inform full scale implementation in 2015,” the department said.
In 2012, the department announced that full implementation would be preceded by a pilot in Grade 1 classes in selected schools in each province in 2014.
“The IIAL policy will then be implemented incrementally, commencing in Grade 1 in 2015 and continuing until 2026 when it will be implemented in Grade 12.
“It was announced that the introduction of IIAL into Grade R will not be implemented at this stage – only from Grade 1,” the department said.
The pilot project is targeting the introduction of the previously marginalised African languages in schools where an African language is presently not offered.
Presently plans are underway for the pilot implementation in Grade 1, commencing 1 February until 31 October 2014.
The department has completed the training of the IIAL National Core Training Team in October 2013 and has developed workbooks and other resources to support the pilot implementation. These have been delivered to provinces.
“Provinces are in the process of finalising the appointment of pilot school teachers and delivering provincial teacher training workshops and on-going support for the pilot schools.
“The appointment of pilot school teachers has taken longer than expected in some provinces and as a result, the teaching of the third language is only just starting at some schools,” the department said.
However, in other schools it is already happening with very positive feedback.
Through the pilot, the department is carefully noting the challenges and the strategies provinces are using to resolve them to prevent similar happenings in 2015.
The IIAL Policy and pilot implementation has been widely discussed, including by the Heads of Education Committee (HEDCOM), the Education Labour Relations Council, the South African Principals’ Association (SAPA), teacher unions and the National Consultative Forum (NCF).
At each forum, presentations were made and the critical issues emerging from the discussions are being considered in the finalisation of the policy.
Further to this, the HEDCOM Sub-committee on Teacher Development and Curriculum Management — which includes representatives from teacher unions, provincial education departments, SAQA, Umalusi and independent schools — discusses a range of curriculum issues at each of its quarterly meetings, including the IIAL and every step of the pilot process was discussed and agreed on.
“The consensus at all these consultations was ensuring that all South Africans can speak at least one of the previously marginalised African languages, [as] a national imperative,” the department said.
The IIAL draft policy was also sent to all stakeholders and uploaded on the website for public comment.
On 11 November 2013, the DBE released the IIAL draft policy, inviting comments from stakeholder bodies and members of the public.
The closing date for comments was 12 February 2014. Presently, the comments are being analysed, but they are in favour of offering African languages in schools, together with suggestions and advice to inform the implementation in 2015.
According to the department, on 28 October to 1 November 2013, 61 provincial/district officials were trained by the National Core Training Team to support the implementation of the pilot.
African language specialists were capacitated to deliver IIAL teacher training and support programmes to Grade 1 pilot teachers in provinces across the system.
The IIAL Teachers Orientation Programme is being rolled out by provincial/district officials between December 2013 and February 2014 to equip teachers with the tools and techniques to effectively teach children an African language at First Additional Language (FAL) level.
Source: South African Official News