Basic education says grammar will be taught

There is no intention to remove the teaching of grammar from the school syllabus, a spokesperson for the minister of basic education said on Friday.

“We have not removed grammar from the syllabus, only the separate assessment of grammar in the exam,” spokesperson Granville Whittle said.

He said that this was part of an international move away from teaching grammar as a “stand alone”, and that most teachers were comfortable with this.

He said that the integration of grammar into the writing and reading components would allow grammar to be taught “in context”.

“... Some teachers feel you still need to teach grammar separately and we will look at this,” Whittle said.

Earlier on Friday, the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said the scrapping of grammar teaching in schools was “problematic” because it would negatively affect literacy, particularly among second language students.

Naptosa deputy president Basil Manuel said the union had seen a departmental document indicating that the grammar paper for grades 10 to 12 would be “integrated” into the writing and literature component of the syllabus.

Two factors
Naptosa president Ezrah Ramasehla said that a decision to relegate grammar in this way would neglect two factors:
“Firstly, the literacy ... levels of learners in the formal schooling system have been shown [repeatedly] to be particularly poor. Secondly, for the majority of learners in South Africa, the language of learning and teaching is English, which in most cases is their second, or even third, language.”

He said that the development of competence in grammar was crucial for education across all other subjects.

Ramasehla said an integrated approach may be successful for pupils studying in their home language, but “there is overwhelming evidence that this is not the case” in South Africa’s public schools.

Manuel said that although the document indicating this decision was marked as the final draft, the status of the document was unclear.—Sapa

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