KZN schools: Coding and robotics to be rolled out, pit latrines to go

Teaching coding and robotics is vital for children as it prepares them for a technologically-driven future. Picture: Supplied

Teaching coding and robotics is vital for children as it prepares them for a technologically-driven future. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 20, 2022


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (DOE) will be focusing on introducing coding and robotics to its subject choices from 2023 and eradicating pit latrines.

The DOE annual performance plan report for 2022/23 was discussed at the KZN Legislature recently.

The piloting of Coding and Robotics (CR) began in Amajuba, uThukela, Zululand, uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo and Pinetown District for the period 2022-24.

The new subject will be offered in all schools with Grade R-9 as follows: Grade R-3 and Grade 7 – 2023; Grade 4-6 and Grade 8 – 2024; Grade 9 – 2025.

In total 299 teachers from 136 schools are piloting CR in Grade R-3 and Grade 7 in Amajuba, uThukela, Pinetown, King Cetshwayo, Umkhanyakude and Zululand districts. The province has established a steering committee, project management committee and a technical support team to ensure the smooth roll-out of CR.

From April 25-30, 2021, 306 Foundation Phase and Grade 7 teachers were oriented by the provincial task team (PTT) in five decentralised venues. The PTT for Grade 4-6 and Grade 8 was oriented by the Department of Basic Education from September 17-23, 2021, and 304 teachers received orientation from October 3-8, 2021.

Over and above the orientation on policy, teachers require intensive, content training through a Higher Education Institution. The Foundation Phase CR subject advisers from all districts and teachers from the piloting schools received content training in February-March through Unisa.

About 122 out of 136 piloting schools are implementing the pilot. However, the schools have not been provided with the requisite resources for the CR laboratories resulting in predominantly theory being taught.

The DOE also plans to “decolonise the curriculum” in language and history studies and have a competent cohort of educators with the requisite skills for curriculum delivery and assessment in a changing world.

The DOE adopted a strategy of assisting teachers to teach effectively, especially with underperforming subjects.

The Primary School Reading Improvement Programme (PSRIP) is an intervention pitched at the General Education and Training level. The PSRIP is a reading improvement programme focusing on English First Additional Language. This programme seeks to capacitate and up-skill teachers and subject advisers.

The PSRIP also aims to support the transition of learners from mother-tongue instruction in the Foundation Phase (FP) to English in the Intermediate.

In the FP, 22 subject advisers were trained on the PSRIP and 4 055 teachers have been workshopped. More than 2 297 028 learners in the province pursued IsiZulu home language which is a clear indication that the province is rapidly approaching the five-year target for the number of schools offering the IsiZulu home language.

The DOE has also been successful in ensuring alignment to the national mandate of access to learning through the provision of schooling through the “No-fee School Policy”.

During the reporting period, the DOE reported a total of 2 121 248 (80%) learners benefiting from the “No Fee Schools” policy.

Daily News