AFTER 12 years of a failing school system, Minister of Basic Education AngieMotshekga yesterday announced changes to the disliked outcomes-based education system.
The new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement will replace the existing method, where assessment requirements were mapped onto the achievement of outcomes and assessment standards.
Pupils now have the option to learn in their mother tongue for the first three years of schooling as part of the new curriculum, 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," she told the media in Pretoria.
But Motshekga emphasised that English would not replace pupils' home languages in the early grades.
Motshekga said the new curriculum had been modified to improve pupils' performances.
"We are finalising all matters that needed to be reviewed and this (change of method) completely clears off what was introduced in 1998, reviewed in 2000 and 2005. We are admitting that OBE had major problems.
"The curriculum was working on major assumptions in terms of assessment policies, that teachers would be able to handle a very complicated system where learners will be promoted as cohorts and not achievers," she said.
Motshekga said the number of projects for pupils had been reduced and pupils' portfolio files done away with.
The Common Tasks for Assessment (CTAs) for Grade 9 pupils was discontinued in January, and all learning areas and programmes will from next year be known as "subjects".
The number of subjects in grades four to six have been reduced from eight to six. Technology will be combined with science; arts and culture will be combined with life orientation. Economic and management sciences will be taught from Grade 7.
"We will start phasing in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements in the foundation phase in 2011. We will phase in other grades in 2012 so that we can make the necessary preparations," Motshekga said.
National Association of Parents in School Governance spokesperson Mahlomola Kekana said: "There can never be a successful change without the input of school governing bodies.
"We were never consulted on the changes."