Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the department aims to phase in a new-look curriculum on history over seven years.
The Minister said this when she briefed the media ahead of tabling the department’s Budget Vote at the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.
She said since the advent of democracy, the broader objective for government was to provide access to education which is a human right. She said that she believed the department was making progress in that regard.
However, in the forever changing times, and as government intensifies its efforts to usher in radical economic transformation, she said the curriculum needs to evolve to respond to current dynamics.
Festival of ideas
In that regard, she said a report of the task team that was established to look at making history compulsory would be released on Africa Day and thereafter, interested parties would be invited to give input on the report through nationwide consultations in what will be a “festival of ideas” on how the history curriculum should look.
“Our contention is that we can’t have radical economic transformation without the appropriate and requisite skills. And what does that need? We need a diversified curriculum, we need to be part of the fourth industrial revolution, we need to make sure that there are skills of the future that are imparted to our nation.
“History…is about history teaching, helping us with cohesion, with nation building, with redress but also creating or teaching our kids about South Africa which is in Africa so that we have an African perspective, we don’t have a Eurocentric history in the context of Africa.
“We have set up a huge task team, received a report, we will be launching the report on [Africa Day] and the thrust of the report is that in the next seven years, we have to roll-out a completely new curriculum of history as compared to the current one that we have.
“We will phase it in, we will make the necessary adjustment but we will also take the paradigm – the paradigm can’t be a Eurocentric paradigm, which teaches about the French revolution only. They have to know about the French revolution but they have to also know about Haiti just to have an Afro-centric perspective about the rest of the world,” she said.
Minister Motshekga said after launching [the report], the department will announce a roll-out plan that will culminate in the “festival of ideas” through engagements with different groupings and communities “for people to talk about it within the framework in which we are going to launch the report in”.
Minister announces funding for education infrastructure
The Minister said, meanwhile, that infrastructure delivery, which continues to be funded through the Education Infrastructure Grant and the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), will receive an allocation of R9.9 billion and R1.5 billion respectively.
She said the National School Nutrition Programme has been allocated R6.8 billion, an increase of 5.8% from the 2017/18 allocation.
“It must be noted that the National School Nutrition Programme budget allocation for 2018/19, has increased by six times from the R1.2 billion allocated in 2007/8.
“This is an important intervention by government to ensure that the poorest of the poor are provided for.
“As a sector we have had to deal with challenges facing Learners with Severe to Profound Intellectual Disabilities Grant receives R185.5 million, almost three times the R72 million activation allocation of 2017/18.”