Schools to teach in both English and mother tongue

2010-07-06 14:56

Pupils now have the option of learning in their mother tongue for

the first three years of schooling as part of the new curriculum, Basic

Education Minister Angie Motshekga has said.

Motshekga said: “The language chosen by the learner as a language

of learning and teaching shall be taught as a subject, or as a first additional

language from Grade 1.”

However, Motshekga emphasised that English would not replace

pupils’ home languages in the early grades.

The new curriculum Schooling 2025 would replace the highly

criticised outcomes based education (OBE) system introduced in 1998.

However, OBE would not be completely scrapped but would be modified

to improve the performance of school pupils.

This followed calls by teacher unions for OBE to be scrapped

because they believed it was biased and blamed it for the country’s high failure

and drop-out rates.

Admitting that the old curriculum had major problems, Motshekga

said: “We have and will continue to make changes .”

Some of the changes in the system included the reduction of the

number of projects for pupils with every subject in each grade consisting of its

own concise curriculum, mapping out what teachers must teach and assess.

These changes followed recommendations by a ministerial committee

which support complaints by teachers that they were overloaded with

administrative work. They also complained that curriculum goals were unrealistic

because some pupils lacked resources such as study material and access to the


This is the third time the curriculum has been reviewed since its

introduction 12 years ago.

Motshekga said: “We now talk of a national curriculum and not OBE

... It can’t be true that we are phasing it out, we want to ensure stability and

no fatigue.”

She said the phasing in of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy

Statements in primary schools would only happen next year to allow time for the

orientation and training of teachers: “We will phase in other grades in 2012 so

that we can make the necessary preparations.”

She said the public would be invited to comment.

Director-general for basic education Bobby Soobrayan said workbooks

were an important addition to the new curriculum because they would provide

support to 6.5?million pupils from Grades 1 to 6 and to 180?000 teachers in

nearly 20?000 schools.

The reshuffle was well received by those in the industry.

Western Cape education minister Donald Grant said: “The changes

will go a long way to restoring a reasonable balance in the delivery of the


He said teachers would now have more time to support individual

pupils instead of being overburdened with administrative duties.

Leader of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South

Africa Esrah Ramasehla said: “The review process should herald a period of

stability and greater confidence in the curriculum.”


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