History to become a compulsory subject from 2023
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It is often said that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it - but luckily for pupils in this country, they might not have that problem come 2023.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Thursday launched a ministerial report stating that History would be a compulsory subject in schools from 2023. The launch at Freedom Park was attended by academics, government officials and stakeholders.
In 2015, a ministerial task team led by Professor Sibusiso Ndlovu, was set up to conduct a comparative international study on how best to implement the introduction of History as a compulsory subject in Further Education Training schools.
The team had to review and strengthen the content of History in schools and the General Education and Training bands.
The task team conducted a comparative case study in 13 counties - including India Rwanda Zimbabwe Nigeria China Tanzania Russia and Brazil.
The team made recommendations on teaching History in the country’s classrooms. A key recommendation was that Life Orientation remain a compulsory subject until Grade 9; but for Grades 10, 11 and 12 it would be replaced by History. “The history curriculum must include the last bid attempt at the decolonisation of the African mind. We must, without any apology, remove the vestiges of apartheid’s sanitised version of history,” Motshekga said. “We must do so without airbrushing the actual story of the apartheid past - nor must we glorify the liberation movements presenting themselves as an equivalent of moral virtue,” she said.
At present, pupils take History up to Grade 9 and are permitted to drop it in Grade 10.
The plan has been criticised in some quarters with some fearing History will be abused as a political propaganda tool as in Zimbabwe where the syllabus in government schools is reportedly biased in favour of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
The DA recently said pupils should not be forced to study History up to matric as it curtailed learner choices.