Home South African Two years of pre-school to become compulsory

Two years of pre-school to become compulsory

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“Our plan is to fully implement this curriculum in all Foundation Phase schools by 2022.”

TWO SCHOOLING years before Grade 1 will soon be compulsory.

According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, the department will table a bill this year that will make these two schooling years compulsory.

The minister made the announcement during a debate on the State of the Nation address (Sona) in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said when tabling Sona that the investment the country makes now in early childhood development (ECD) and early school learning will yield great economic benefits in the next two decades and beyond.

“We are in the process of declaring the two years prior to Grade 1 compulsory. The Basic Education Amendment Bill, which pronounces on this, will be tabled in Parliament this year,” Motshekga said.

She said the ministries of Social Development and Basic Education were at an advanced stage in moving the ECD function from the Department of Social Development to the Department of Basic Education, with transitional arrangements already determined.

Under the guidance of the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, two main proclamations have been drafted. One is a national proclamation to be signed by the president, and the other is a provincial proclamation to be signed by premiers from each province.

“We are in the process of finalising the National Framework for ECD, which we will release for broad consultations early in the 2020/21 financial year.

“Guided by the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), we are determining the financial and human resource implications of an integrated ECD programme at local, provincial and national levels.

“We are in the process of conducting a readiness assessment of the DBE (Department of Basic Education) readiness to receive and effectively deliver the ECD function,” said Motshekga.

The minister said, meanwhile, that the department was making progress in preparing young people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to ensure that they are equipped with skills for future jobs.

This comes against the backdrop of a report from the World Economic Forum, which stated that an estimated 60% of current jobs will disappear in the next 10 years and that new skills will be required to function effectively in the future.

“It is for this reason that we need to ensure that every South African child is equipped with skills, knowledge and competencies required to function effectively in a changing world, during the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond.

“The department has completed the development of the Coding and Robotics Curriculum for grades R to 9 with the assistance of experts comprising university lecturers, labour, industry experts, our partners in civil society, and education experts within the sector.

“This exciting curriculum will equip pupils with digital skills required for future jobs, and to function effectively in a changing world, and will teach every South African child about artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printing and advanced manufacturing,” said Motshekga.

She said the Coding and Robotics Curriculum is being piloted in grades R to 3.

“Our plan is to fully implement this curriculum in all Foundation Phase schools by 2022.”

During the announcement of the school readiness for 2020, the Northern Cape MEC for Education, Mac Jack, pointed out that the Province was unable to place all Grade R pupils this year.

“We are experiencing a challenge with regard to the placement of Grade Rs, especially in the Frances Baard District, and we will not be able to place all pupils in Grade R classes at public schools,” Jack said.

“We are encouraging 641 Grade R parents to start looking for placement at ECD community-based sites, as we cannot guarantee placement at public schools. It is an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in and have therefore prioritised the construction of new ECD classrooms in 2020.”