Pretoria: South Africa and China are to strengthen education ties at an institutional and policy level through the signing of an implementation plan between the two ministries.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has overseen the signing of an implementation plan between the Ministry of Education in China and the Department of Basic Education in South Africa in Beijing this week.
This follows the signing of a collaboration agreement between the two countries Presidents in March last year, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited South Africa.
Speaking to education students, academics and diplomats at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, Minister Motshekga highlighted the challenges being experienced in South Africa in the area of Mathematics and Science education.
“It is for this reason that we are thrilled to be here in China as we begin to fulfil the agreement signed by our two respective Presidents in March last year.
“The agreement speaks to collaboration between our countries in a number of areas, but for us what is especially encouraging is the work we will be undertaking together in the field of mathematics, science and technology, where we have seen China excel.
“We hope to learn from the Chinese experience through the exchanges of knowledge and human capital, which we believe will be extremely beneficial,” the minister said.
The signing of the implementation plan with the Chinese Minister of Education this week has cemented this agreement and they look forward to working practically together towards quality education for all in their respective countries.
This collaboration allows SA to benchmark itself with the best in the world with a view of making sure that it is on par.
The department has already identified areas for strategic partnership.
“In line with strengthening our participation and success rate in mathematics, science and technology we will be working with China to provide the requisite equipment and reposition our institutional arrangements to deliver in this area.
“We are also in a process of reviewing our national curriculum statement to improve our split between the academic and vocational streams with the intention of encouraging more schools in the system to offer vocational subjects,” Minister Motshekga said.
The minister was impressed to see China had already succeeded in achieving a 50- 50 split in this regard, and believes that South Africa can learn a lot from each other to strengthen their efforts.
While in the country, the minister visited the Chinese National Institute of Educational Sciences as the department begins to implement the recommendations of the MST task team by setting up their own Mathematics and Science office with the view of developing it into an institute outside the bureaucracy of the department.
The minister also visited schools in Shanghai to see how policy translates into implementation at a provincial and school level and was extremely impressed at the calibre of research and creativity being expressed by Chinese learners in the areas of Mathematics, Science and Technology.
Another aspect of the agreement includes cultural exchange and the promotion of the Chinese language, Mandarin being taught in South African schools.
“There are currently six Confucius institutions in South Africa and with the help of the Chinese Government a curriculum for the teaching of Chinese will be developed to be offered in some schools around the country.
“This will assist with building on the already solid foundation of friendship and collaboration between our two countries,” Minister Motshekga said.
SOURCE: South African Official News