Longer school day for Grade 1, 2

2011-12-27 22:11

Johannesburg - Pupils entering Grade 1 and 2 across the country next year can expect a longer school day, the basic education ministry said on Tuesday.

"The school day will be half an hour longer," said ministerial spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe, adding this was mainly to accommodate the teaching of a second language in Grade 1.

"We are introducing the language of learning from next year. English will be introduced at Grade 1 level."

For some schools in the Western Cape, Afrikaans would be the first additional language taught.

Mokgathle said that before English was only being introduced at Grade 3 and many students subsequently struggled to become fluent in it. Yet it remained a crucial language as it was the language in which the school curriculum was taught and tested in South Africa.

Mokgathle said that the school day could not be longer than six hours for the foundation phase.

Previously, literacy, was taught over nine hours and ten minutes a week. From next year, ten hours of class time would be split between the teaching of each of the two languages.

Instruction time for mathematics would decrease from seven hours and 30 minutes a week, to seven hours.

Life skills would now be taught over six hours a week, an increase of a half an hour of instruction time.

She said that individual schools would decide on how they wanted to shape their time-tables in accordance with the changes rung in by the new curriculum and assessment policy statement (CAPS).

  • Irene - 2011-12-27 22:27

    You can make kids attend school 24/7 but until they're taught my decent teachers it won't make any difference.

      Michelle Kirsten - 2011-12-28 00:27

      I agree, what if they now get half an hour more of watching some overworked person stressing over deadlines that are impossible to meet? Hehe I'm a teacher and I tell you, our half-day job has enough ridiculous admin to make a cyborg weep, and sometimes you are so busy making prep and reporting on progress that you don't actually make any progress!

      Fifles - 2011-12-28 11:09

      Hi Irene...I taught Grade One for 35 years ...until I saw the light and got out!!!

      phorane.thokoane - 2011-12-28 11:33

      I agree with this comment, but this is a step in the right direction. The next best thing is to provide them with adequate resources, including decent teachers. My only question is why do we not introduce sport at in schools as a compulsory? With so many sporting codes out there, there should be a sport for each student. Sporty pupils have been proven to achieve better grades.

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-28 11:47

      The best they could do is send the majority of children to workhouses rather than school, while their fingers are still small enough to work small machines and their eyes are good enough to sew little buttons.

      Robert - 2011-12-28 14:42

      In Japan they are at school most of the day. It does not involve just teaching but other things such a motor skills and various others which the parents whom work cant get to during the week, this coupled will a clinic could assist in managing cold apedemics and others. Parents will be less stressed to orginise their kids. I think this is a great idea with so much more advantages.

  • ubhejane - 2011-12-27 22:31

    I'm pleased to see this happen. Now we can help these little ones help themselves one day in a new changing world.

  • Matthew Patrick - 2011-12-27 22:50

    It's a step in the right direction. My only concern is that the weekly allotted time for maths is going to decrease by half an hour. Maths is such a crucial subject...

      Mildly_Amused - 2011-12-28 09:39

      They decrease maths time by half an hour, and increase life-skills time by half an hour? That's not very clever. I'm pretty sure I learnt a lot more "life-skills" on the playground than on class.

  • fleur.shillito - 2011-12-27 23:14

    Maths is compulsory and now they decrease the maths time????

      andre.sunnasy - 2011-12-27 23:50

      my thoughts exactly...

      TBEEE - 2011-12-28 11:40

      Crazy he you would have thought they would increase math time too

  • Owen - 2011-12-27 23:41

    As Engish (versus most 3rd world indigenous languages) has the maths constructs of If, then, else, neither, nor, and, or, etc, it is imperative that kids learn a maths enabling language as soon as possible. More english teaching will also improve all subjects pass rate as most project research has to be conducted in a european language. The sooner a child is fluent in english the better their individual success rate will be.

      Barefoot - 2011-12-28 07:28

      the best comment i could find. thumbs up

      themuirs - 2011-12-28 08:57

      I however do wish we could start our Foundation phase at an earlier age group, as children are more susceptible to be taught a different language at an earlier age. Age 6 and 7 (grade 1) is already too late, by that age, children should read and write and learning development pertaining those skills should be focussed individually.

  • Joseph - 2011-12-28 00:21

    There has been many curriculum changes since 1994, but the results are without a doubt appauling. The department of education has been split into two, still, we see no positive results. What is going on? What difference will this additional time make to the kids? The department of education must face the reality that there are problems at at public shools, particularly in poor communities. Let the department deal with these fundamental problems and then introduce these fancy stuffs. Frankly, the situation at many schools in poor communities is not conducive for learning. Is the department not aware of this?

      march54 - 2011-12-28 04:07

      Appauling is not correct, if you are going to comment on education spell check your comment the correct spelling is appalling.

      Clive - 2011-12-28 08:38

      Sorry to say, Joseph, but your spelling and grammar are symptomatic of the "appauling" education many kids receive. Also: "There HAVE (not has) been ...", "these fancy stuffs" is nonsense, "conducive TO" (not for). But I agree entirely with your sentiments.

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-28 09:18

      The language police are out in full force.

      Mildly_Amused - 2011-12-28 09:41

      Joseph makes a valid point... The spelling and grammar nazi should go back to smooching their dictionaries.

      Clive - 2011-12-28 17:18

      Sad that many seem to find it acceptable that children come out of school unable to spell and write decent English. Then they wonder why these kids do not make the grade in tertiary education. There is nothing nazi-like about wanting our kids to be basically literate.

      Mildly_Amused - 2011-12-30 11:27

      We live in a country in which there are so many different languages. Looking at the grammatical and concorde errors, I'm assuming that English isnt Joseph's first language. Yes, being literate is important, but at some point you have to be a little considerate towards those who try to embrace another language. Disregarding his point entirely and only focusing on correcting his grammar isn't going to make him more literate, it's only you showing off how smart you are. It also discourages people from trying. How do you learn another language? By practicing it. If you really feel the need to moan, moan at the first language english speakers who write "u" instead of "you" and all that.

  • Chaapo - 2011-12-28 00:43

    It is not the quantity of time but the quality of the teachers, teaching and the resources. If the teachers feel it is too long and they are exhausted, they will mark time. If the children are not stimulated enough by varying activities, they just tune out especially at that age.When will people ever learn?

  • Motho - 2011-12-28 03:04

    Quality not quantity!

  • Errol - 2011-12-28 03:58

    Longer hours!!!!!Imagine how shocked South Africa's mostly dysfunctional teachers will be now that they have to MAYBE work???ANC..besides your wholesome theft of public funds by your ministers and their cronies,the one thing that you just cannot,and have not, got right is education.It's the most basic of human rights.This circus will sadly continue,as YOU,the ANC,do not have the will knowledge or leadership to fix it.Start by calling kids pupils and students as opposed to 'learners'!!!!!....

      Karen Perks Woodward - 2011-12-28 05:38

      Something to consider is that teachers who already WORK 13 hour days,sometimes 6 days a week,in already well-functioning schools are being punished! Disfunctional schools will remain that way because they are poorly managed and very little SA teachers can speak or teach in English!

      don.odendaal - 2011-12-28 08:39

      Please refrain from using the word circus in a derogitory fashion as a circus is one of the industries that actually does run very well everyone knows there job and when finished will help others to get the circus up and running and this is all done very efficiently. Our education system does not fall within this category at all and is more like an abortion which has been performed by a butcher.

  • nozukol - 2011-12-28 04:38

    Where are the libraries Minister. English without reading can't make you speak English. They must be thought and read more books. Plannining is good but it is without resources, waste of time.

  • Wesley - 2011-12-28 04:40

    If some of the teachers could just be in class with the current times, it would make a big difference already

  • Ian - 2011-12-28 05:16

    maths time decreased, what you going to teach them, how to put a cross next to anc, fffng morons

  • Max - 2011-12-28 05:27

    First start by optimizing the existing number of hours learners spend at school, otherwise this talk is just a lot of hot air.

  • Menziwa Mbuyane - 2011-12-28 05:39

    Funny hw sum ppl sit on de net read nd shoot down great ideas, introducin english in dis grades wil yield gud results period. wats wit de negitivity S.A?

      Ian - 2011-12-28 06:11

      just as long as its not the sort of rap crap rubbish you are typing, speak properly man

      Clive - 2011-12-28 08:41

      What you write is not English, pal, which suggests that the ministry might just be getting something right for a change. Now if only SADTU will co-operate ....

  • Haveyoursay - 2011-12-28 05:57

    Another education decision by a stupid committee. Regardless of the extra time spent on language, it comes down to concentration levels. Any sober-minded educationist will tell you that after 20 minutes concentration starts waning, so the longer school day is going to be counterproductive.

  • Kirsty Prinsloo - 2011-12-28 06:25

    I'm all for the second languages - but come on to decrease the time of maths and increase life skills - that's just stupid.

      Edith - 2011-12-28 06:44

      Exactly - it doesn't make any sense.

  • Jan - 2011-12-28 06:51

    You can take 30 minutes less or 30 minutes more per class, but if the teachers are not in class or at school that will not help.Teachers have to be there to make it work .And not walk around leaving classes un attended.

  • elainejoy.sampson - 2011-12-28 06:57

    Okay so mother tongue instruction is supported by a language of learning a second language makes sense. What does not make sense is to decrease mathematics or numeracy time for the foundation phase. Surely life skills could have beebn decreased and numeracy maintained or increased maths is critical. Smacks of future maths challenges.

  • Trevor - 2011-12-28 07:03

    Amazing how the ANC's outlook on education is now slowly but surely turning BACK to what it was pre '94....much like the secrecy bill...but it has worked in their favour if one takes a step back, keep the masses uneducated and you'll stay in power....

  • Jan - 2011-12-28 07:05

    Nozukol . Your people had the books ,but it was very nice for the students to through the library books in the street and burn them year after year. I was there and had to see how you students enjoyed it. In our school we arranged fund raising events,selling cakes and crafts to generate extra funds to buy what we needed in our schools.We did not get it for free. Pay your fees at the schools and Universaties then there will be funds to supply the students with what they need. Also go and work then for free for 1 year, as you got schooling for free from the goverment.Go think about that before you again say you were not given the oppertunity to excell in life.

      nozukol - 2011-12-28 16:20

      People are not thought about the importance of book. Our government must do awareness on that that books are important its either they are new old old. You cannot just have knowledge withouth information. The majority of people in SA are illiterate and that is coused by ignorance from our government. They do not care about the poor at all. If they never had libraries that does not mean that the innocent ones must go through the same experience. They fought for this democracy and do you think its a democracy? Lot of taxpayers' money is wasted on unnecessary things. They have millions and billions of rands spent on parties. Instead of investing on education. By the way their children are studying overseases and in private school so why would they care. It is so bad. Awareness is very important for each and everything. Planning is good but where are the resources???????

  • Abe Swart - 2011-12-28 07:19

    increace life skills and decrease maths - that does not make sense!

  • Marius - 2011-12-28 07:29

    A small step in the right direction. I am in FET sector and biggest challenge is English. Research showed that learners introduced to maths at later stage (11 years) catch up within 6 months showing that literacy development is essential. Start with educators and include more advanced English in course. Developmental activities for current teachers can also benefit the system. The same goes for life skills; develop teachers and parents to internalize life skills in order for them to lead by example. Get involved as members of community to transfers your skills to those in need of personal growth and development

  • Harold - 2011-12-28 07:41

    Send the children to school one year earlier and make it a language learning year if you must but mother tongue language should still be the priority. What is very obvious is that the government has messed up the future of many children. Thats what comes from putting people in charge of education who are the inventors of the necklace death system.

  • Xenswim1 - 2011-12-28 08:15

    But what form of English I have horrific vision of a new South African. As it is I prefer that they speak mother tongue as I hardly understand what there are about when they so called talk accented English. I have a problem right now with a grand child being taught by a Black teacher. She may have the qualification but anyone would think she is from some foreign country.

  • Karoo - 2011-12-28 08:29

    Keep the kids at school from 8 to 6 and keep them off the streets! What a great idea! Same time the teachers stay off the streets :-))

      Karen Perks Woodward - 2011-12-28 08:43

      My husband and I are both teachers! We teach until 2, coach sport until 4, give extra classes until 5, write plays, research Eisteddfod poetry,prepare songs for arts and culture,plan fundraisers,manage the learner council,manage the school newspaper,prepare lessons,make powerpoint presentations,organise athletic,cricket,rugby and netball events,write testimonials for 40+ children,attend meetings,write reports and then can we start marking books,setting papers and addressing educational matters! (I am describing a day's work!) What a brilliant idea to increase our hours since we clearly have nothing better to do!

      william.binedell - 2011-12-28 15:01

      Hi Karen, very true but try and get the other lazy old timers at the school involved who lost their passion...every school has them

      Karen Perks Woodward - 2011-12-28 15:39

      @William,so true! If we all had the same work ethic, education would not be in such a state! I am very privileged to work at an instution where we have similar values and an approach to getting the job done!

      Karen Perks Woodward - 2011-12-28 15:39

      @William,so true! If we all had the same work ethic, education would not be in such a state! I am very privileged to work at an instution where we have similar values and an approach to getting the job done!

  • Lesley - 2011-12-28 08:49

    I cannot believe that they are shortening the time for mathematics teaching but increasing the life skills time. How is life skills going to help them get a job?

  • Silver - 2011-12-28 08:52

    My wife asked me what was news. I told her that grade one pupils had do go to school for a half an hour longer so they can become bilingual. She started laughing uncontrollably. At least she knows why we are laughing at this. News flash (ANC) people: throwing more time and money at a problem does not solve the real problem. I think government is just a little out of touch of what is actually happening on the ground.

  • Janine - 2011-12-28 09:01

    Just so I can put in my penny's worth, I don't agree with this decision. What happened to the basics of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic? Take the time away from Life Skills, not maths.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-12-28 09:13

    Trial and error government at it again, playing with the minds of poor kids whose parents can't afford model C school where politicians kids learn. I was sceptical about the issue of English being introduced at grade 3 in public schools. Public schools are the pillars of democracy where the finacial backgrounds of learners parents do not count. If we neglect these schools in need of special attention, we are quickly going down. A lot more of proper planning and financing is required to public schools for the solid foundation that our young ones need in their lifetime. The OBC generation of learners struggle to write assignments at tertiary level and this gives a load of work to lecturers who have to dwell much on language than content. Wake up ANC, even your friends China are starting to recognise English fully at their schools.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-12-28 09:18

    Trial and error government at it again, playing with the minds of poor kids whose parents can't afford model C school where politicians kids learn. I was sceptical about the issue of English being introduced at grade 3 in public schools. Public schools are the pillars of democracy where the finacial backgrounds of learners parents do not count. If we neglect these schools in need of special attention, we are quickly going down. A lot more of proper planning and financing is required to public schools for the solid foundation that our young ones need in their lifetime. The OBC generation of learners struggle to write assignments at tertiary level and this gives a load of work to lecturers who have to dwell much on language than content. Wake up ANC, even your friends China are starting to recognise English fully at their schools.

  • Nokwanda - 2011-12-28 09:37

    What difference will this make if the education system itself is not of great quality. The teachers are stuck with so much paperwork that they don't even have time to teach what they are suppose to teach and they are constantly going on courses during their holidays and are not being paid for that. So I just think that adding to the school hours is not going to change much untill the whole system is overhauled and we go back to the old system in education it was the best

      Michelle Kirsten - 2011-12-28 23:09

      True Nokwanda. My mom was at a course the other day where almost two hours were used explaining the difference between 2dimensional and 3 dimensional drawings TO EDUCATORS, black and white, some of whom have been teaching for 30 years! What a waste of time when they could practically train new educators themselves

  • Pauline Hanekom - 2011-12-28 10:19

    We have the lowest Maths attainments stats in Africa! Let's reduce Math teaching time! Rather keepfoundation phase teachers an hour longer at school an teach them proper English! A second language speaker will never (at school) speak better English than his teacher!

  • Lyzelle - 2011-12-28 10:34

    Next step - all government officials and municipal employees to WORK at least 30 minutes per week and we can have an improvement in service delivery as well!!!!

  • willbeonekenobi - 2011-12-28 10:51

    Honestly I don't think this wilk work and my reasons are simple. 1. In order to be better in your literary skills you need to READ ALOT. I think that most homes especially in the poor township area's. Also if your home language is anything other than English or Afrikaans you'd be hard pressed to find a book in your native tongue. 2, More time should be spent on maths and not less to help improve maths scores. Mathematics is kiterally everywhere and is useful in all situations. 3. Teachers must spend more time in the class room TEACHING and nothing else. That way there is a slightly better chance of success for the kid in getting a decent job.

      willbeonekenobi - 2011-12-28 10:56

      i meant to say in point 1 that most township houses dont have books at all in them

  • wilma.gray1 - 2011-12-28 10:55

    Luckily I am home-schooling, so my kids does not have to sit through lessons for hours on end at the age of 6!! And they will receive a decent education!

  • Fifles - 2011-12-28 10:59

    That is lunacy! By the end of a school day currently, these little people are really tired and the teachers are already over-stressed and under-paid....shame!!

  • Sagren - 2011-12-28 11:39

    we have a dysfunctional education system, increasing teaching time is not going to make any significant difference

  • Charmain - 2011-12-28 12:47

    I agree with Irene. make more classes with less kids then maybe they can do more work why longer hours and what are the hours

  • mlondi - 2011-12-28 14:16

    fluency in language has little to do with when it was introduced to an incumbent. Afrikaans speakers struggle with fluency in English because the language is not encouraged beyond school hours. Same goes for any other non-primary language! Clearly this Ministry of Basic Education has no understanding of the BASICS...!

  • nonceba.motsisi - 2011-12-28 14:22

    Adding more hours won't make a difference and remember we have transport drivers who fetch these kids after school. Are they expected to wait for those long hours, that's not fair at all.

      Michelle Kirsten - 2011-12-28 23:00

      At many schools the gr 1 and 2 learners wait around for the older kids to come out anyway. Transport where I am comes when the older kids are out

  • Beetroot - 2011-12-28 15:25

    Such small children, need small hours. Not deprived of fun for such little amount of extra time. Children also need to play, thats what toys and outdoors are for. Not a regime of academic focus on such a small mind.

  • Cadow1 - 2011-12-28 17:34

    The kids learn and understand more when they are actively and practically involved,30minutes well spent is better than a whole in a classroom, what matters most is quality not quantity. introduce skill oriented subjects i.e capentary e.t.c

  • Cadow1 - 2011-12-28 17:36

    i mean a whole day in classroom

  • rossallenronnie - 2011-12-28 17:40


  • Bev - 2012-01-01 12:28

    Can't believe what has happened to our Education System in S.A. Why not just stick to the three Rs - as we did 40 years ago!!! And enjoyed a bit of needlework, woodwork, hist, geog ...Just completed my 40th year of teaching- Loved it, but oh my!! We no longer educate - we just teach! And some don't even do that!! BIG DIFFERENCE!! I see very little hope for our students!! Sad but true!!

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