In an effort to improve the mathematics and science results of South African learners, the Department of Basic Education is drawing on the experiences of China
The two countries will strengthen educational ties after an implementation plan was recently signed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Chinese Minister of Education.
South Africa will look to learn lessons from China in curriculum development, mathematics, science, technology as well as teacher training and development.
The department’s deputy director-general Mathanzima Mweli will lead a delegation, which will include specialists in vocational education, mathematics, science and teacher development, to China.
“What we would like to learn from China is how learners were able to do so well in these areas,” he explained.
Mweli said currently China was putting together its own resources to teach mathematics, science and technology.
“We would like to also build capacity to generate our own resources just as we are doing with the work books… We will be looking at what incentives they offer for teachers and learners,” he added.
Producing artisans is a priority for South Africa and it is the Department of Basic Education that is responsible for laying the foundation for vocational education.
Mweli explained that the department was in the process of reviewing the national curriculum statement to improve the split between the academic and vocational streams with the aim of encouraging more schools to offer vocational subjects.
China has already succeeded in achieving Basic Education deputy director-general Mathanzima Mweli says South Africa has a lot to learn from China, especially when it comes to mathematics and science.
a 50- 50 split in this regard and South Africa wants to learn from China’s experience, he added.
The agreement includes a cultural exchange element and will also see the Chinese language, Mandarin, being taught in South African schools.
The Chinese government will develop a curriculum to teach Mandarin and the language will be offered at some schools that have the capacity to teach it.
He said China also had lessons to learn from South Africa, where access to education is currently at 98 per cent.
“The Chinese would look at what incentives we developed in access to education such as providing meals at school, the school transport programme and having no-fee schools.”
The lessons learnt from the Chinese education system will first be introduced in 500 poor performing schools and 200 technical schools before expanding to other schools in the country.