Minister announces major changes in education sector

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cape Town – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department plans to introduce a new school exit level certificate to address the skills shortages and unemployment in the country.

Announcing a shake-up in her department – which she said was aimed at improving the overall development of all learners – the Minister also announced that in light of recent events that saw colonial statues being defaced, her department was looking at the possibility of making history compulsory for Grade 11 and Grande 12 learners.

The Minister made this and several other announcements when briefing the media ahead of tabling her department’s budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday.

“One of the big announcements I will be making this year is the introduction of a new school exit level certificate.

“In order to address skills shortages and unemployment in the country, the [department] is introducing a second skills and vocational pathway by developing an exit level qualification at NQF [National Qualification Framework] level 1 that will specifically benefit learners who struggle to attain the academic requirements of the National Senior Certificate (NSC),” she said.

The Minister said the programme, which comprises 26 skills and vocational subjects, promises to bring South Africa in line with many growing economies.

Bid to make history compulsory

The Minister said in light of recent events that have rocked the nation, including the recent attacks on foreign nationals and the defacing of statues, the teaching of South African history has once again come under the spotlight.

Young people have joined in on these events, raising concerns that they may not be well-informed on the history of the country.

Minister Motshekga said in that light, it has become crucial for South Africa, especially young people, to know where they come from in order to move South Africa forward.

“Media reports indicated that many of those who participated in the looting, violence and vandalism were youths. We need to equip our youth with an accurate account of our history in order for them to make educated decisions regarding their own future.

“As per the NSC Ministerial Task Team recommendations, further research will be conducted on the best approach of making History a compulsory subject for all learners in grade 10 to 12. In pursuit of this, a Ministerial Task Team will be established to investigate the content and modality of how best to implement this, and a roundtable discussion with stakeholders will also be held,” she said.

ANA extended to Grade 7 and 8 learners

The Minister said, meanwhile, that she will brief Parliament on the progress made in improving the rollout of the Annual National Assessment (ANA).

She said ANA has proved to be a useful tool to diagnose learning challenges when it comes to literacy.

“The focus until 2019 is on using ANAs to drive classroom performance and learner attainment at all levels, not just in Grades 3, 6 and 9. A major shift in this budget period shall be the inclusion of grades 7 and 8 in ANA.

“The total number of learners who will participate in ANA increases from the current 7 million to approximately 9 million,” she said. –