Minister Angie Motshekga said South Africa’s basic education is ready to tackle the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Cape Town - Minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday said South Africa’s basic education has progressed “quite admirably” over the past 25 years of the country’s democratic dispensation and is ready to tackle the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). 

“We are empowered to analyse and interpret data effectively and accurately. We have been working on improving our South African school management and administrative system and also our learner record information tracking system which provides information around learners,” Motshekga told MPs as she tabled her department’s budget vote speech in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

"We are therefore ready to tackle the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Motshekga said.

She said “it is no mistake that President Cyril Ramaphosa attributed the sector’s progress to a silent revolution”. 

“We, however, are the first to concede that our achievements are accompanied by stubborn systemic challenges that we continue to grapple with,” she said, adding that the department had developed Grade R coding and robotics curriculum and that the design of the Grade 4 curriculum was at an advanced stage.

The department, she said, would be piloting this curriculum from January next year in Grade R to Grade 3 and Grade 7.

“So to expand broadband and connectivity to schools for learners with special needs, we, in corroboration with the Department of Communication and the Independent Communication Authority (ICASA) will be providing 100 of the 453 special schools with ICT [Information and Communication Technologies] infrastructure and connectivity, and the ICT solutions will be determined by the categories of the disabilities in each school,” Motshekga said.

In teaching and promoting African languages, she said lots of work has taken place. Almost 80 percent of South African schools that were to implement teaching African languages had already done so and the department was assisting the 20 percent with challenges. 

"But it’s also important to raise that the issue of languages is an emotive issue, all South African languages are protected by our Constitution. 

"The Constitution covers what the language policy is and where we have difficulties we have owned up why we are unable to implement or develop African languages to the level that they can be subjects of teaching," Motshekga said. 

African News Agency (ANA)