The South African Government is once again making changes to the national school curriculum. These will focus on bolstering the country’s output of mathematics, science, and technology students. New subjects, including robotics and coding, are being added to the curriculum with supporting equipment and software to boot.
When asked how schools would be supported in this endeavour, education minister Angie Motshekga wrote in a parliamentary Q&A that the department plans to leverage existing STEM programs.
The future is bright
The Dinaledi Schools project, launched in 2005, is one such program. This was later combined with the Mathematics, Science and Technology Conditional Grant in 2015. Improvement is the key focus of what is now known as MST Grant.
“The grant’s purpose is to provide support and resources to schools, teachers and learners in line with the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for the improvement of mathematics, science and technology teaching and learning at selected public schools,” Motshekga said.
The Education Department’s push for the new tech-focused subjects will make up a large part of this grant going forward.
Progress is already underway, according to Motshekga. So far, the department has supplied 485 schools with computer hardware and software for tech subjects. This includes selected pilot schools trialling the new coding and robotics subjects.
Those subjects were introduced to a few schools initially towards the end of the 2021 academic year for Grades R, 3, and 7. As long as nothing catastrophically bad happens, the department plans to roll out the new robotics and coding subjects for those Grades in the 2023 academic year.
Other Grades will also get their turn. But they’ll have to wait a bit. The pilot rollout for Grades 4, 5, 6, and 8 was planned for 2022 with the Grade 9 pilot planned for 2023. Proper implementation of the new coding and robotics subjects for Grade 8 and 9 are planned for 2024 and 2025.