The Department of Basic Education (DBE), in partnership with Standard Bank and Africa Teen Greeks, has put together a team of experts in the field of Computer Applications Technology (CAT) and Information Technology (IT) to write a Digital Skills Curriculum for Grades R to 9. The six day curriculum writing process took place at the Hoopoe Haven Lodge in Fourways, Gauteng Province from 24 to 31 March 2019.
Chief Education Specialist for Digital Skills in General Education and Training (GET), Ms Carina Labuschagne, says the process will be implemented within the next 12 to 24 months. “Once the curriculum development process has been completed, there will be a need for the development of the necessary material and teacher training activities to prepare the sector for the piloting processes. Our intention is to pilot the Curriculum in Grades R to 3 during 2020 and in Grades 4 to 6 during 2021. The last phase of piloting will be conducted in Grades 7 to 9 during 2022”.
Ms Labuschagne added that the Digital Skills Curriculum will consist of several critical variables, including Application Skills; Internet and e-Communication Skills; Data and Information Management Skills; and Computational Thinking Skills and Coding. Ms Labuschagne describes Coding as the writing of instructions for computation using a programming language to achieve a specific goal or to solve a problem. Coding therefore refers to a programming tool, which was designed specifically for educational purposes, based on sound programming principles. The curriculum will provide learners with the necessary knowledge and skills to become inventors of new technologies to make a valuable contribution towards the global community.
The introduction of the Coding and Robotics Curriculum was approved by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) on 08 March 2019. Chief Director for MST and Curriculum Enhancement Programmes, Mr Seliki Tlhabane said: “This is a deliberate move by the sector to reposition the curriculum to prepare our learners with skills for the changing world. Coding and Robotics will integrate diverse skills such as Creativity, Collaboration, and Problem Solving to groom learners for future careers”.
Mr Tlhabane explained, “Before computers can be used to solve a problem, the problem itself and the ways in which it could be resolved, must be understood. This includes the development of important skills that most subjects assist with. It also consists of specific problem solving skills such as the ability to think logically, algorithmically and recursively. Coding is essentially written instructions that a robot or computer programme can read and then execute. Learners must determine the task they want to complete through a robot, design the code to make it happen, and then send it to the robot to view the outcome. We are grateful to our partners, Standard Bank and Africa Teen Geeks for making this possible”.