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New curriculum for SA schools

By unknown | Dec 22, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE South African schools curriculum will undergo changes once again since the Minister of Basic Education is preparing to tweak it.

THE South African schools curriculum will undergo changes once again since the Minister of Basic Education is preparing to tweak it.

Educators are waiting for the changes in the new year after the minister, Angie Motshekga, promised them. She has already cut the paperwork at high school level.

This will be the fourth attempt to introduce an education system that will solve all the problems besetting South African classrooms. The Ministry of Education began the year on a sour note when almost 40percent of matrics failed.

The exams, hailed as the first fully compliant OBE instructed class, shocked South Africans. The minister, Naledi Pandor, tried to put a good spin on the results by emphasising the "good" 62percent pass rate.

She claimed it was a good pass since OBE was in its infancy. Her department had to make provisions for the failed matrics to rewrite the exams.

Hundreds of matriculants in Mpumalanga, which is always beset by cheating scandals, had to wait for almost six months for their results.

Yet another blow was dealt to the OBE curriculum when universities acknowledged that they were unable to educate the new matrics who were ill-prepared for further education.

Inadequate learning at primary and high school level had led to ill-prepared and uncomprehending students. Many apparently were not educated enough for university acceptance.

Prominent teachers and educators spoke out this year about the failure of OBE. The most vocal was Mamphele Ramphele, who advocated a return to the former education curriculum.

Graeme Block, one of the advocates of OBE, eventually conceded this year that it does not work.

The principal reasons for its failure were that few schools had the resources to teach in this manner. Many public schools lack projectors, television sets, computers and libraries where pupils can access learner sites.

The new system also put a strain on teachers because of the paperwork involved. Teachers said they spent most of their time on portfolios and other administrative functions rather than actually teaching.

Teachers were poorly prepared to teach OBE. Most teaching colleges and universities did not adapt their training manuals to the new OBE. Retraining by the department did not go far enough and many teachers resisted it.

Teacher unions have also been blamed for their aggressive attitude and a tendency to take teachers out of the classrooms at critical times.

The final reason was that there is a poor culture of learning and teaching in South Africa. There is also a poor system of discipline and punishment in schools.

Pupils bunk school and teachers at some schools do not spend enough time in the classroom. Timekeeping is a problem all round.

Many teachers privately said they had reverted to the old teaching methods to ensure that the pupils learnt something and that they passed.

When President Jacob Zuma took office in June he split the ministry into three: Basic Education under Motshekga, Higher Education under Blade Nzimande and Science and Technology under Pandor.

The intention was to give more attention to primary and high school education to eradicate illiteracy.

The Parliamentary Committee on Education then threw a tantrum by trying to debate the lowering of matric distinction passes.


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