Teachers to be relieved of admin, planning tasks

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Johannesburg - Teachers will from next year be relieved of administrative and planning tasks to enable them to devote more time to teaching and lessons.

This follows a recommendation by a task team, set up to review the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement, that the workload of teachers be reduced. The phasing in of new curriculum was completed last year.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Friday administrative tasks were distracting teachers from doing their core business, which was to teach learners.

"The planning requirements of teachers has become unnecessarily complicated and appear to make little contribution to improving teaching or learner attainment," she said.

The department is to further scrap the regular learner assessments, and learners will now only be assessed once a year.

"They don't add any value in the learning system," said Motshekga.

The number of learning areas will also be reduced from eight to six, including two languages in the intermediate phase.

Motshekga said there were currently too many subjects in the intermediate phase, where learners shift from three learning areas in Grade 3 to nine in Grade 4.

Following a further recommendation by the task team, the minister has decided that English will be phased in at lower Grades, as almost 80 percent of learners present it as their first language in Grade 12.

Currently most provinces only introduce English as a subject in Grade 3 instead of Grade 1, as suggested in the National Curriculum Statement policy.

"This makes for a very challenging transition for both learners and teachers and contributes somewhat to underperformance in the senior and Further Education and Training phases," said Motshekga.

However, she stressed that mother tongue languages will still exist in the foundation phase.

Some of the recommendations are expected to be implemented as early as possible in the year while some will only be implemented later.