South Africa to introduce new school subjects from next year

The Department of Basic Education has announced that it plans to introduce several new school subjects to the curriculum in the coming year.

In its 2022/2023 annual performance plan published this week, the department said this will include full-scale implementation of coding and robotics for Grade R-3 and 7 in the 2023 academic year.

A pilot curriculum for these subjects was initially introduced at some schools in the third term of the 2021 academic year, it said. It plans to expand these tech-focused subjects to other grades in subsequent years.

“The coding and robotics pilot for Grades 4-6 and for Grades 8 is planned for 2022 and will be followed by a Grade 9 pilot in 2023. The full-scale implementation for Grades 4-6 and Grade 8 is planned for 2024, and Grade 9 in 2025,” the department said.

“As coding and robotics is a new initiative, the focus will be on the upskilling of teachers to be trained to teach this new subject in collaboration with higher education institutions.”

The department said that the new subjects form part of a broader push to better prepare South African students for the working world.

“Future careers require people with digital skills that will equip and enable them to function effectively in a digital era. The continued implementation on the teaching of coding and robotics will equip and expose learners to digital literacy, virtual reality, augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things,” it said.

“The sector notes that the future requires individuals who will be able to build robots and other sophisticated machines and to develop algorithms to code these machines.”

The department said it will continue to motivate learners to stay in school until they obtain a matric pass and the necessary qualifications to compete in the labour market.

It added that learners should be equipped with entrepreneurial skills that encourage job creation responding to education skills transfer for the future.

“The emphasis will be on improving learners’ skills in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), financial and scientific Llteracy, along with critical thinking in problem-solving; creativity; communication; and collaboration.

“The sector will be focussing on a curriculum response to skills; the preparation of teachers for curriculum digitisation; teaching and learning methodology change and the integration of ICT skills in the three-stream model.”

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