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State of the Nation Address

In line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution South African schools will be equipped with technological devices.

South Africa’s education system is to go through a radical overhaul in order to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

During the 2019 State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government is expanding the training of both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence.

He said this is being done in line with the Framework for Skills for a Changing World.

Several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, including technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences and aquaponics.

To expand participation in technical streams, the President said several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools.

In addition, government will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.

Already, 90 percent of textbooks in high enrolment subjects across all grades and all workbooks have been digitised.

“We will start with those schools that have been historically most disadvantaged and are located in the poorest communities, including multigrade, multiphase, farm and rural schools,” the President said.  

ECD centres to fall under Basic Education

Government’s plan will also cut across Early Childhood Development (ECD).

With over 700 000 children accessing ECD in the past financial year, President Ramaphosa announced that the responsibility for ECD centres will migrate from Social Development to Basic Education.

He added that government will proceed with plans to make ECD compulsory for two years for all children before they enter Grade 1.

Another critical priority will be improving reading comprehension in the first years of school by expanding the availability of early reading resources across the foundation phase of schooling.

“This is essential in equipping children to succeed in education, in work and in life – and it is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality,” the President said.

The department’s early grade reading studies have demonstrated the impact that a dedicated package of reading resources, expert reading coaches and lesson plans can have on reading outcomes.  -SAnews.gov.za