South Africa: Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane - Hackathon High Level Political Forum

press release

Remarks by the Minister of Tourism, HE Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, at the Hackathon HLPF event

Programme director

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Let first take this opportunity to convey my cabinet colleague Minister Angie Motshekga's apology. She is unfortunately unable to be here due to Cabinet responsibilities. As you might be aware that I was recently in the Science and Technology portfolio and I witnessed first-hand how fast technology is changing our world. And I think there is a urgent need for our education system to respond to these changes. It is therefore a great pleasure for me to present to you our plans as the South African government to reshape our education system for the Fourth Industrial society.

Ladies and gentlemen.

The technologies associated with the phenomenon of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have begun reshaping the way we produce goods and services; how we communicate and interact; how we administer health; how we educate the young and how we do many other things that determine how we live. Fundamentally, it is no longer possible to discuss economic development without factoring in the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on the economy as whole.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is said to be driven by the following innovative technologies: High Speed Internet of things; Robotics and Coding; Automation; Virtual Reality; Mobile Supercomputing; Cloud Technology; Big Data and Data Analytics; Artificial Intelligence; Internet of Things and other Technologies

These technologies require specific competencies and skills for individuals within society to function effectively in the twenty-first century. Necessarily new pedagogies are required to stimulate such competencies and develop such skills in our learners.

In response, the Government of South Africa through the Department of Basic Education is updating its curriculum to ensure that the children coming from the South African education systems are equipped with the skills that will ensure they are ready to either become tech entrepreneurs or enter the workforce from day 1 of graduating from high school.

We are determined to create a sustainable industrialization and to keep pace with the world. South African government has developed Coding and Robotics curricula Grade R-3 and will complete Grade 4 to 9 before the end of 2019. This curricula will provide learners with understanding and will develop their skills and competencies to prepare them for the 4th Industrial Revolution. The curricula will ensure that our schooling system produces learners with the foundation for future work and equip them with skills for the changing world.

Coding curriculum will develop learners' ability to solve problems, think critically and work collaboratively and creatively; function in a digital and information-driven world; apply digital and ICT skills and to transfer these skills to solve everyday problems. Learners will also become a new generation of creative, innovative thinkers that can use coding to express their ideas; and adopt a culture of being self-directed, life-long learners.

Using University of South Africa's (UNISA's) 24 ICT Laboratories located throughout the country, 72 000 teachers will be trained to teach Coding to primary school learners. We will do this in partnership with civil society, academic institutions and businesses such as Africa Teen Geeks and international players like MIT.

I am proud to announce that the Department has developed a Framework for teaching and Learning of Coding. Coding requires a dedicated platform and the Department with the assistance of Google and other Big Businesses through Africa Teen Geeks are developing a coding platform that will utilise Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to customise learning and teaching. This Coding platform will be available in all 11 official languages ensuring that rural and township children will be introduced to coding in their own mother tongue in line with this government mission to provide an inclusive education accessible to all.

The Department will pilot the coding curriculum in 2020. Throughout this year we are preparing the system to ensure that the schools are ready for full implementation post 2020. Each township and rural school in the country will be appropriately resourced to ensure creation of an enabling environment

The Department of Basic Education also intents introducing Robotics curriculum from Grade R- 9. Mechatronics, Marine Sciences, Aviation Studies, Aquaponics, Mining and other new curricula that would prepare our learners and provide them with skills for the Changing world. These new curricula will not only develop STEM skills but also contribute to effectively developing children's creativity, critical thinking, design thinking, and digital skills.

To support these efforts the Department is developing a Framework for Skills for the changing world. This will ensure that South Africa develops learners who are makers and inventors who will contribute to building an innovative culture in South Africa.

The Department has introduced the Three Stream Model to address to double challenges of Dropout Rate and well as Throughput Rate. The current configuration of the curriculum offering only catered for learners who are academically inclined to the disadvantage of learners who are vocationally as well as occupationally gifted.

The Three Streams Model offers learners three distinct pathways, namely Academic, Vocational well as Occupational pathways, which recognises that learners are differently gifted and that opportunities should be created for each type of gifting.

By introducing the Three Streams Model the Basic Education Sector seeks to align the curriculum with the 'Skills for the Changing World" and create a seamless articulation and portability between the schooling sector, world of work and Higher Education Institutions as well as to offer learners an opportunity to complete Grade 9.

The Department further plans to introduce the General Education Certificate (GEC) which will be finalised by end of 2019. This will ensure that learners completing Grade 9 will receive a qualification certificate recognising the completion of General Education and Training Band (GET Band). Learners completing Grade 9 will then articulate into FET Band, into TVET Colleges or even into the world of work for those who would choose to do so. Those who would wish to articulate into the world of work should be admitted there as assistant artisans.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) also plans to provide each learner and teacher with an ICT device with access to digitized Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM). The plan will be implemented in three phases commencing with Phase 1 that will target multi-grade, multiphase, farm and selected rural schools (2020 - 2021). The Second Phase will target quintile 1 to 3 schools (2022 - 2023), and Phase 3 will target quintile 4 and 5 schools (2024 - 2025). All Special schools will be accommodated in all phases according to the type of disability.

A comprehensive ICT plan has been developed to provide a framework for an affordable and sustainable implementation of this initiative. The three-phased ICT school deployment model will ensure ICT compliance in all schools by 2025.

We are currently in the Planning Phase (2019): Preparatory phase for the rollout which comprises the following:

Developing a comprehensive implementation plan with clearly defined timelines and deliverables;

Mobilising stakeholders which labour, parents, civil society and private sector

a study trip to Kenya and Rwanda to learn how these two East African Giants managed to undertake a successful massive rollout of ICTs in their schools

A massive teacher training and Change Management for teachers, School Management Teams, District Officials, School Governing bodies as well as the broader communities

Phase 1 will start next year in 2020 upto 2021: The Phase will be charectarised by finalisation of rollout plans as well as Massive Teacher Skilling Including rollout of the infrastructure including devices as well as development and distribution of digital content for the Multigrade, Multiphase, Farm, Selected Rural as well as Selected Special Schools targeting Foundation Phase.

Phase 2 running from 2022 until 2023: will see Quintile 1 -3 as well as Selected Special Schools targeting GET Phase as well as Quintile 1 -3 FET Phase receiving the focus.

The final phase will be Phase 3 starting in 2024 to 2025: This will be for Quintile 4 - 5 and selected special schools

The DBE will work with other government departments, the private sector and social partners in the deployment of ICTs and will drive a sector-wide campaign to maximise the benefit of e-Learning at all schools in the country.

I thank you.

Issued by: Department of Tourism

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