Gwarube’s promise to consult on school curriculum applauded

Plans to consult stakeholders on the education curriculum lauded.

Plans to consult stakeholders on the education curriculum lauded.

Published Jul 7, 2024


The news that Minister of Basic Education, Siviwe Gwarube, would set up a consultative forum to undertake a fundamental review of the school curriculum has been welcomed by education stakeholders.

Among them has been the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU), which last week said they appreciated the plans announced by the minister to involve all interested parties as it showed her understanding of inclusivity.

SAOU Executive Officer Paul Sauer said when they heard that Gwarube would involve stakeholders on the curriculum they realised that she had a grasp of the most pressing issues in the current education system.

“Minister Gwarube made it clear that she has heard the deeply felt concerns of the education sector, expressed in various reports since her appointment. Her stated intention to set up an inclusive, formally established consultative body to review the school curriculum, goes a long way to calming uncertain waters and setting a positive course for the way forward in education.

“Her stated determination to engage with all role-players in the forum is cause for cautious optimism that,” said Sauer, on the national curriculum meant for pupils in Grade R to 12, and to be introduced before the end of academic year.

When it was announced, the department said it was meant to equip learners, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds, race, gender, physical ability or intellectual ability, with the knowledge, skills and values necessary for self fulfilment.

They said: “It will provide access to higher education, facilitate the transition of learners from education institutions to the workplace, and provide employers with a sufficient profile of a learner’s competence.”

The curriculum would, the department said, be based on, among other principles, social transformation, active and critical learning, high knowledge and high skills, and progression.

Human rights, inclusivity, environmental and social justice, and valuing indigenous knowledge were also principles on which the programme would be based they said.

“The SAOU said holding a consultative forum would ensure better outcomes in literacy and numeracy, science and mathematics, the drop-out rate would be reduced, teachers would be upskilled and appropriate teaching and learning environments provided.

“Nor did the contentious issues of the language of teaching and learning, the seminal importance of early childhood education and the controversial Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill go unnoted,” said Sauer.

He said for its part, the SAOU looked forward to participating in the achievement of the reality through the minister’s vision of a Consultative Forum operating in the same spirit as the Government of National Unity.

The department said the pupils to be produced from such a curriculum would be able to identify and solve problems and make decisions using critical thinking, work effectively as individuals and with others as members of a team, and they would be able to collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate symbolic and/or language skills in various modes.

They would also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem solving contexts did not exist in isolation, the department added.

Sunday Independent

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