History curriculum to be overhauled

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says there is no attempt to rewrite history to benefit the ANC./Thulani Mbele
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga says there is no attempt to rewrite history to benefit the ANC./Thulani Mbele

A ministerial task team has already commenced with the writing of a revised curriculum with a greater focus on South African history that will be taught to pupils from grade 4 upwards.

This is one of the priorities of the department of basic education that minister Angie Motshekga reflected on at the ninth congress of the South African Democratic Teachers Union, held in Nasrec, southern Johannesburg, last week.

Motshekga said the department's focus was on the re-engineering of the sector to
cement a narrative of an education system on the rise.

"The writing process will involve the call for public comments and inputs as soon as they are finished with the draft document.

"The introduction of compulsory history will be done phase by phase from Grade 10 until 12," said Motshekga.

She said there will be rigorous teacher training to prepare them for the introduction of the new history curriculum.

The department plans to "decolonise basic education through the teaching and promotion of African languages, South African and African history to all pupils".

In June last year, the task team setup by the department presented its recommendations to overhaul the history curriculum to Motshekga. One of the
recommendations was that life orientation should make way for history as a compulsory subject from grades 10- 12.

Motshekga approved the overhaul of the history curriculum to make it more Afrocentric and relevant to South African pupils.

The department will also prioritise the improvement of literacy and numeracy especially when it comes to reading for meaning.

"We have developed a national reading framework which maps out differentiated approaches on how to teach reading in African languages.

"We will also prioritise the immediate implementation of a curriculum focusing on skills and competencies for a changing world," said Motshekga.

She said the department will collaborate with the department of higher education, science and technology to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge to teach literacy and numeracy.

"We plan to eliminate the digital divide by ensuring that within six years, all schools and education offices have access to internet and free data. A conducive learning
environment is a necessary pre-requisite to achieving quality education.

"By the end of 2019 we will support the provision of school health services to 200,000 pupils in grade R, 1, 4, 8 and 10," she said.

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