The confirmation came to the fore following recent controversial utterances by ANC presidential hopeful, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, when she lambasted the alleged “negative narrative” against the ruling party, which she said was being perpetuated at institutions of learning.
During a visit to Zamdela in the Free State, Dlamini-Zuma said “it was not surprising that pupils thought the ANC was corrupt and useless, because that was what they were being taught at school”.
DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said Dlamini-Zuma’s sentiments “to a certain extent”, corresponded with a probe implemented by Minister Angie Motshekga in February, last year.
Mhlanga would not elaborate how or if Dlamini-Zuma knew about the investigation, saying: “I’m not in a position to speak for her.” He said the ministerial task team (MTT) set up by Motshekga was to probe whether teaching materials used at schools promoted, among others issues, “the values of unity in our diversity”.
The work of the task team was also aimed at eradicating social, economic and political stereotypes, especially in the classroom, he said, and did not allow for a teaching and learning environment “where individuals or organisations are misrepresented and/or ridiculed”.
Mhlanga said the minister had already received the task team’s interim report. “One of the interim findings of the MTT is that textbooks generally adopt a mildly inclusive approach to diversity.
“For instance, while there are no obvious potential forms of discrimination with regard to race there remains an abiding mono-racial attitude towards what families, communities and societies look like,” Mhlanga said.
The task team also conducted a “content analysis” to ascertain the specific discrimination biases, frequency and type of such discrimination, as well as examined the extent to which different forms of discrimination manifest themselves in textbooks.
“While the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements clearly outline what should be taught in schools, some teachers have, however, been found to have overstepped the boundaries.
“Where such incidents have taken place, such teachers using racial slurs on others, swift action has been taken against the implicated teachers.”
Western Cape Education spokesperson Millicent Merton said their department had been made aware of the probe.
Mhlanga said Motshekga would receive the task team’s final report later this year.