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Foundation Phase Subject Advisors are trained on Coding and Robotics CAPS

The training of provincial and district officials in Coding and Robotics for the Foundation Phase took place at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng Province from 13 – 16 May 2024. The training signals the pioneering of a transformative era for Basic Education towards equipping South African learners with the skills required for the modern world.

Addressing the 225 subject advisors, Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, announced that the reconceptualised Coding and Robotics CAPS has been endorsed by Umalusi and will be rolled out in the Foundation Phase in 2025. “As we commence the implementation of Coding and Robotics in the Foundation Phase, we are not merely introducing a subject; we are pioneering a transformative era. This initiative equips our learners with the skills and mind-set to excel in a digitised world,” the Minister said.

DBE Director for Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST), Ms Elspeth Khembo, explained that, “the curriculum is structured around three critical strands. Essential for preparing our learners for the digital age, coding develops the ability to formulate logical instructions for both humans and computing devices. It enhances computational thinking and problem-solving skills, which are crucial in our technology-driven world. Through coding, learners tackle complex problems and foster creativity and innovation, allowing them to express ideas through digital mediums. The Robotics in Education strand offers learners hands-on experiences with designing and utilising robots. It transcends theoretical knowledge, plunging learners into practical applications and challenges that hone collaboration, project management and problem-solving skills, applicable in diverse fields from engineering to healthcare. Robotics stirs curiosity and inspires learners to explore the immense potential of this technology”.

The curriculum also sets ambitious goals for developing computational thinking for problem-solving; advancing design thinking for creativity and human-centred solutions; and cultivating a generation adept in coding, robotics, and digital competencies. In addition, the curriculum will promote creativity, critical thinking, cooperation, communication, and innovation whilst instilling effective digital citizenship and ethical behaviour. It is important to raise awareness of the societal impacts of technology and to build self-efficacy in computational and design thinking in preparing learners for STEAM-related careers. The DBE intends to foster a culture of self-directed, lifelong learning characterised by adaptability and resilience.

Ms Khembo added that, “addressing the adjustments made in allocating time for the Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics Curriculum against other foundational subjects is vital. While some time has been reallocated from Life Skills, encompassing Creative Arts, Physical Education, and Personal and Social Well-being, it is important to recognise that Coding and Robotics do not diminish these areas, but rather enhance and complement them from a new perspective. This integration enriches learners’ education in the digital age, nurturing responsible digital citizens”.

“As we commence the implementation of Coding and Robotics in the Foundation Phase, we are not merely introducing a subject; we are pioneering a transformative era. This initiative equips our learners with the skills and mind-set to excel in a digitised world,” the Minister concluded.

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