SEVERAL LANGUAGES TO BE ADDED
Motshekga said Khoi, Nama, San and sign languages would be the languages introduced and added that Swahili would already have been taught in South African schools had it not been for the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We increased the number of languages in the sector. We have added additional languages to our list of subjects; they are Khoi, Nama, San as well as African sign languages.
“Had it not been for the disruptions of Covid-19, the introduction of Swahili in our schools would have started. We are still pursuing it and Tanzania and Kenya are willing to assist us to finalise plans to introduce the language in South African schools,” said the education minister.
Motshkga told the NCOP that it was time for the country to begin a serious debate on mother-tongue teaching and learning as currently many children are only taught in their mother tongue until they reach grade three before switching to English or Afrikaans.
According to the minister, more than 80 percent of South African children learn in a language that is not their mother tongue.
“I think we are the only continent teaching children in a language that is not their home language, and this continues to contribute to under-achievement and poor performance. We must have a policy shift in this area,” she said.
GRADE 9 CERTIFICATE
The education department announced that it will be introducing a General Education Certificate (GEC) for Grade 9.
The certificate is being piloted in 268 schools across the country and in 2023 it will be expanded to all districts.
According to BusinessTech, the GEC is meant to recognise learners’ achievements at the end of the General Education & Training phase (Grades R to 9), which is compulsory.
Under the current system, many students leave school without qualifications and struggle to find employment, according to the department.
The education department stressed that the GEC is not meant as an exit point for learners. The primary purpose of the certificate is to help learners make better subject choices, especially those who choose to learn technical subjects and trades instead of opting for a college or university education.