A pair of new school subjects will be introduced to South African learners this year, a decision that has come under fire as many people question why the Department of Basic Education hasn’t focused on improving the existing subjects.

In a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga elaborated on why subjects like Coding and Robotics are being added to the South African curriculum, instead of being incorporated into existing subjects.

Motshekga explains that these subjects were designed to be stand-alone for Grade R-9 learners as there is not enough space in the Natural Science and Technology curriculums to accommodate new content without affecting the existing content’s articulation, flow and progression, reports BusinessTech.

She also argues that incorporating the new subjects into existing subjects would require the department to update three different curriculums, whereas having them as stand-alone subjects mean they only need to create a new one.

These new subjects are also more skills-focused than theory-focused.

The draft curriculum for Coding and Robotics has already been presented and approved, and now awaits evaluation and quality assurance from education regulator Umalusi.

The draft Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) will be piloted in 2021-2024 for Grades R-3 in 200 schools, and at 1000 schools for Grades 7-9. The department plans to fully implement the curriculum across all grades in 2025.

Other subjects like Agricultural Studies, Electrical Technology, Civil Technology and Digital Technology may also be added to the curriculum. These subjects are designed to provide practical knowledge to learners who may not complete matric or go on to university.

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