Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, gave an impassioned speech in Parliament on 04 September 2018 during the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) debate on International Literacy Day. “We must agree as a nation, that basic education is indeed at the heart of building a South African nation for a better and prosperous future,” said Minister Motshekga.
International Literacy Day will be commemorated on 08 September 2018, under the theme: “Literacy in a digital world: Taking measures to leverage the economic potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution”. This gives us an opportunity to reflect on what is being done to promote literacy, especially in relation to the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“We must ensure that more learners reach the basic levels of literacy and numeracy in the Foundation Phase. This is an overriding determinant of how successful learners will be in their 12 years of their long walk to completing Matric; and largely determines whether learners will cope with schooling at all, or run the risk of dropping out and add to the huge numbers of young people not employed, not in education nor in training – the so-called NEETs. We must make early grade learning and teaching our topmost priority,” said Minister Motshekga.
Minister Motshekga reminded members that we stand on the brink of a disruptive technological revolution and trends that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. “Honourable Members, the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has also led to the expansion of the definition of “Literacy” beyond just reading and writing. Educational institutions are now expected to meet learners’ needs through the integration of 21st Century skills – referred to as the 5Cs. These 5Cs are Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Computational thinking. The 5Cs underpin new forms of Literacy in the digital world,” explained Minister Motshekga.
“The progress we are seeing in the Gauteng and the Western Cape Provinces, vis-à-vis the modernisation of the classroom, with the Eastern Cape and Free State Provinces following suit, is encouraging to say the least. The alignment of content and teaching methodology, to real life situations, in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are therefore imperative,” added Minister Motshekga.
In closing her contribution to the NCOP debate Minister Motshekga added, “I wish to conclude by saying that we are cautious in the way we are embracing technology, to ensure that any transformation in the education sector, is not dictated to by technology; otherwise it will be like ‘a cart pulling the horse, or the tail wagging the dog’. Technology cannot be an end to itself, but should rather be informed by sound educational needs”.
Click on the below link for the full speech: