The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Provincial Education Department (PEDs) are currently in the consultation process to fast-track the introduction of the Coding and Robotics as well as the Three Stream Model in the Basic Education Sector. The DBE’s MST, Curriculum Innovation and E-Learning, has recently hosted the MST Inter-provincial seminar at Protea Hotel Upington, in the Northern Cape province to reflect on the progress made by the MST Conditional Grant in resourcing schools that are offering the MST subjects in the country. The seminar was also aimed at creating a platform of engagement amongst the MST Coordinators at national and provincial level to ensure that the grant assists the sector in equipping learners with the requisite 21st century skills required in a changing world, and the world of work.
The acceleration of the implementation of the Three Stream Model and Coding and Robotics in the sector featured strongly during the seminar. In his presentation, Chief Education Specialist, Mr Modiba Phosa said that the sector is progressing well in terms of providing training for key role players, including provincial co-ordinators and subject advisors who are expected to get the training model well on track. Mr Phosa applauded the DBE for providing clear guidance to the PED in terms of resourcing schools that are offering MST subjects through the MST Conditional Grant. “The DBE has considered using the skills training centres to conduct training workshops with the intention of exposing participants to the practical aspect of the model. Based on the nature and scope of the curriculum, the Department was of the view that teacher training for technical subjects, vocational subjects and occupational subjects should be conducted in a technically oriented environment in order to expose teachers to the practical application and use of the subject related equipment, tools and machinery. It was therefore in this context that skills training centres were recommended as the preferred training venues,” added Mr Phosa.
Ms Elspeth Khembo, Director for MST, Curriculum Innovation and E-Learning said that the DBE was at the final stages of completing the draft curriculum for coding and robotics. “We are currently considering the public comments received before the Coding and Robotics Curriculum can be finalised for full implementation. The DBE has entered into partnership with UNISA to offer online training for grades R-3 teachers to familiarise them with coding and robotics concepts with support from the EDTP-SETA. The DBE intends to conduct an orientation session for grade 9 educators in August 2022 to prepare them for piloting of Coding and Robotics in 2023. However, Grades 4-6 and 8 officials have already been orientated during 2021. With regards to the EU Funded Coding and Robotics Project, the DBE will further finalise the specifications for coding and robotics kits for approval by the bid specification committee. At the present moment, the subject will be assessed informally until the draft CAPS is approved. The MST and E-Learning directorate will work with the Assessment directorate during the finalisation of the CAPS document. It was encouraging to engage various provincial MST managers in this seminar. This has assisted us to have a clear picture in terms of the state of the system readiness before the occupational stream within the Three Stream Model and Coding and Robotics is fully implemented in the sector,” highlighted Ms Khembo.