ANC supports basic education reforms

The ANC on Wednesday welcomed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s changes to the education curriculum.

“The ANC supports the minister’s statement, especially as it clarifies that the purpose of the review is to deal with certain constraints in the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools,” the party said in a statement.

Key among those constraints were overload on teachers brought about by the assessment requirements of the NCS, knowledge gaps in some subjects in the transition from the foundation to the intermediate phase, curriculum overload in the intermediate phase, insufficient attention to teaching foundational knowledge in literacy and numeracy, and lack of national assessments in the early phases of the schooling system.

In this regard, the ANC supported the minister’s decision to, among other things, drastically reduce the administrative requirements that teachers had to perform as a result of the assessment imperatives of the curriculum.

It also supported closing the content knowledge gaps in some subjects, reducing subjects from nine to six in Grades 4 to 6, paying greater attention to literacy and numeracy, especially in the early grades, and introducing nationally set tests in Grades 3, 6 and 9.

“The ANC believes that the minister’s determination to address these constraints will yield good results, and will improve learner achievement in all levels of the schooling system,” it said.

The ANC also clarified its position on the reported demise of outcomes based education (OBE).

“We note and support the minister’s decision to remove some elements of outcomes based education, especially the framing of the school curriculum in terms of learning outcomes and assessment standards in order to strengthen subject content specification.

“However, outcomes based education as a broad framework for education and training in South Africa remains our approach.

“While the school curriculum will not be strictly formulated in terms of outcomes and assessment standards in the schooling sector, the core values of outcomes based education, such as encouraging critical engagement with knowledge instead of rote learning, combining foundational with practical knowledge, and encouraging learners to work both as individuals and as teams, will continue to underpin teaching and learning in the schooling sector.”—Sapa