Pretoria: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department will pilot African languages in 10 schools per district next year.
Briefing journalists in Hatfield on Tuesday, Motshekga also said the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) – a panel of education MECs that she chairs – was impressed with the state of readiness report for Grade 12 learners.
With just over 80 days to go till Grade 12 learners put their pens to exam papers in October, Motshekga made several major announcements on future changes to the curriculum as schools around the country prepare to conclude the current calendar year.
“Earlier this year, the department received a report on the incremental introduction of African languages in school.
“The report recommended that as from 2014, all public schools should introduce African languages from Grade R to Grade 1.
“However, CEM resolved to broadly support the proposal that provincial education departments would largely consider for piloting the initiative in 2014 — an option that provided for 10 schools per district,” she said.
Motshekga’s announcement comes after concerns since last year that the proposal to introduce African languages would find many schools unprepared.
She told journalists on Tuesday that the council’s latest decision to run a one-year pilot only in selected schools would ensure that the transition is not a drastic one.
Schools’ readiness for 2013 exams, 2014 calendar year
Motshekga said after a meeting last week Thursday, the CEM was satisfied that all provinces were ready for both the Annual National Assessments and the National Senior Certificate exams.
While the annual assessments would take place in September, Grade 12 learners will sit for their exams around the third week of October. The department is expected to announce dates and examination learner details closer to the time.
“CEM has noted the impressive turnaround of the preparation for the examination processes in Mpumalanga, taking into account the challenges faced by the province a few years ago.
“The examination processes in Mpumalanga should indeed be celebrated as the best model and included in the Council media statement,” Motshekga said.
Sign language to be offered as a home language
As part of her major announcements, Motshekga said after President Jacob Zuma’s call in 2012 to have sign language declared as an official language, she commissioned a curriculum management team that was tasked with putting together a sign language curriculum.
“I am also happy to announce that I met with two important ministerial task teams this morning – the task team in South African Sign Language, and a task team responsible for the technical schools’ curriculum.
“I have committed to discuss with Education MECs that the sign language curriculum be offered as a home language from 2014,” she said.
Task team appointed to bolster technical schools
Motshekga said she had set up a task team to tackle challenges that were faced by technical schools after the sector battled to attract learners.
“The technical high school sector is under severe pressure to attract learners. The enrolment figures in 2007 were at 119 000 and in 2013, it now stands at 45 000.
“This is mainly due to curriculum related matters. It was within this context that a Ministerial Task Team was set up to look at the challenges facing technical schools.”
She said the task team had already presented draft Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for Civil Technology, Electrical Technology and Mechanical Technology.
“These subjects will be supported by Technical Mathematics, Technical Science and the current Engineering Graphics and Design.”