School subjects

South Africa to introduce new school subjects from next year

The Ministry of Basic Education has announced plans to introduce several new school subjects into the curriculum over the coming year.

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

A pilot curriculum for these subjects was initially introduced in some schools in the third term of the 2021 school year, he said. He plans to expand these technology-focused subjects to other grades in the coming years.

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

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

The department said the new subjects were part of a wider effort to better prepare South African students for the world of work.

“Future careers require people with digital skills that will equip them and enable them to operate effectively in the digital age. Further implementation of coding and robotics education will equip and expose learners to the digital literacy, virtual reality, augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things,” he said.

“The industry notes that the future needs individuals who can build robots and other sophisticated machines and develop algorithms to code those machines.”

The ministry said it would continue to motivate learners to stay in school until they obtain a matric pass and the qualifications needed to compete in the job market.

He added that learners should be equipped with entrepreneurial skills that encourage job creation in response to the transfer of educational skills for the future.

“The focus will be on improving learners’ skills in information and communication technology (ICT), financial and scientific literacy, as well as critical thinking in problem solving; creativity; Communication; and cooperation.

“The sector will focus on a curricular response to skills; preparing teachers for the digitization of curricula; the change in teaching and learning methodology and the integration of ICT skills into the three-pronged model.

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