Aug 2011

School grades due for an upgrade

Written by Gabi Khumalo
Children who can't read, write, count or speak well in their mother tongue or a second language are unlikely to make a success of their schooling or succeed in the workplace one day.

Improving their chances of success in life and improving the prospects of the South African economy therefore depends on how well children do in the basic areas of learning in their early years at school.

In a bid to improve the quality of learning and teaching, all learners in Grades 1 to 3 (Foundation Phase) will be required to take four subjects from 2012. These are Home Language, First Additional Language, Numeracy and Life Skills.

Basic skills

The focus will be on strengthening basic skills such as reading, writing and numeracy. This will better prepare Foundation Phase learners for the jump to Grades 4 to 6 (Intermediate Phase). The number of subjects in the Intermediate Phase will also be reduced as part of strengthening foundational skills.

To this end the Department of Basic Education has put together an updated document called the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).

CAPS sets out revised plans for the national schools curriculum based on the recommendations of a panel of experts. It will replace current documents and will provide clear guidelines on what teachers should teach and assess on a grade-by-grade and subject basis. It will be phased into the Foundation Phase in 2012.

Home language

Reviewing the curriculum in 2009, showed that the leap between the Foundation Phase and the Intermediate Phase was too large. Learners were not properly prepared for the jump from three subjects to eight. It was found that this was probably the main reason why results dropped as learners moved up the grades, said Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.

The Minister emphasised that English would not replace the home language in the early grades. Where it is practically possible, each learner will be taught in his or her home language in these grades.

For more information, contact the Department of Basic Education
Tel: 012 357 3000

Share this page