Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga Picture: Oupa Mokoena
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said her department has not formulated a definition of the term “decolonisation” of education.

In a parliamentary reply, Motshekga said the department has also not settled on a “working definition” of the so-called “colonisation” of education, in so far as the school curriculum was concerned.

“The reason for this is that decolonisation as a concept or term is not mentioned in the curriculum and assessment policy statement (CAPS),” she said, adding that the policy was based on social transformation, human rights, inclusivity, environmental and social justice and valuing indigenous knowledge systems.

Motshekga made the comments as people like former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma supporting for calls for the “decolonisation” of education.

Independent Media reported yesterday that Dlamini Zuma addressed about 300 delegates, who attended the policy council of Youth In Action in Durban.

She was quoted as saying decolonising education was more than just changing content in the curriculum. It was about a new way of thinking and doing things and must start with the decolonisation of the mind, she said.

Motshekga said CAPS was crafted by South African education experts and stakeholders. “Colonial powers have not influenced this process of development, or its implementation in the education sector.”

However, Motshekga said “decolonisation” of the curriculum was a process and not an event as the development, review, assessment and strengthening of the curriculum could not be a once-off event. “South Africa has developed and then reviewed several school curricula since 1998, as a process and the current CAPS of 2011, while hailed by many as the best curriculum statement to date, is also currently being subject to a process of review and strengthening.”

Motshekga is expected to brief Parliament on progress made with introduction of African languages and plans to make history a compulsory subject.

The briefing comes almost a month after Motshekga tabled her budget speech, where she said her department wanted half the number of schools that do not teach African languages to introduce an indigenous subject this year as part of a social cohesion programme.

Motshekga said the Western Cape and Mpumalanga were still lagging behind in teaching African languages, while the Northern Cape and Free State were leading the provinces in introducing indigenous languages at their schools.

The programme has been piloted in grades 1 and 2 in 264 schools countrywide, between 2014 and 2015 countrywide.

It was extended to 842 other schools last year with about 1 779 schools set to be part of this year.