According to President Cyril Ramaphosa: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the digital divide in society, particularly with regards to the adoption of technologies for learning and teaching. It underscores the need to intensify efforts to ensure connectivity and equitable access to data”.
During the 2021 virtual basic education sector lekgotla, Ramaphosa announced that thousands of pupils in primary schools will participate in piloting the draft coding and robotics curriculum later in the year. For the past five years, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has hosted the Basic Education Sector Lekgotla as a means of engaging the sector on key deliverables and strategies towards improving the quality of basic education.
This year’s Lekgotla started on the 25th of February and was held under the theme: “Equipping Learners with Knowledge and Skills for a Changing World”. DBE Minister, Angie Motshekga said the lekgotla helps the department to share its plans with stakeholders. “It also gives us a chance to have an honest reflection on our missteps and on our success and enables us to see blind spots where perhaps as a sector we had missed looking at something,” said added.
Ramaphosa said “there was a need to build a stronger social compact that put pupils and their education first. And with our focus on developing the skills that children need for a changing world, we also have a clear path towards a better future,” he said.
The aim of the curriculum is to equip learners with the required skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution. These skills will help them become inventors of new technologies and will also provide career advantages as these early learners have an understanding and enjoyment for STEAM that can take them into many desirable career paths.
Ramaphosa said piloting the coding and robotics curriculum will be for grade R to 3 pupils from 200 schools and grade 7 pupils from 1,000 schools. He also highlighted that the higher education sector recently raised concerns about the large numbers of pupils doing subjects for which there is less demand in the economy.