Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga, attended a high-level virtual event of Africa’s Education Leaders, titled “Transformation of Education in Africa” from 24 to 27 May 2021. The purpose of the event was to take stock of lessons learnt, the greatest risks facing education and strategies to leave no learner behind, building on the actions of the Global Education Coalition (GEC) established in March 2020. The meeting provided the global education community with a space for policy dialogue to assess lessons learnt and the most pressing current challenges, informed by the presentation of key data sets.
In her opening remarks, Minister Motshekga said that, “the issue of transforming our education in a digital era received a shot in the arm when President Cyril Ramaphosa made a call to both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence in his 2019 State of the Nation Address. He further announced the introduction of new subjects such as robotics, coding and data analytics to improve the uptake of digital skills required now, and into the future. I am happy to announce that the roll-out of robotics and coding as school subjects is underway. Today’s learners must be taught skills that prepare them for the careers yet to be invented. South Africa continues to learn from our peers across the globe, including our motherland, Africa, about the best possible strategies to achieve meaningful roll-out of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as the backbone of learning, and teaching the new skills required for our ever-changing world”.
Minister Motshekga formed part of a panel discussion on 25 May 2021, consisting of Education Ministers from Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Some of the key issues that Minister Motshekga addressed were the implementation of coding into the South African Basic Education curriculum in 2022; how South Africa is supporting special needs education and the use of technology; existing policies of the DBE (in respect of coding being added to the curriculum) and how COVID-19 has accelerated change in some areas; and how digital transformation will be accelerated and what can be done to ensure equitable access to avoid the dangers of a digital divide, critical thinking, social and emotional learning. The Minister was supported by Senior Officials from the Department as well as officials from the Curriculum Innovation and e-Learning Directorate.
AfricanBrains has been organising the annual Innovation Africa ministerial summit since 2011, dedicated to promoting investment and greater partnerships in education across the continent. In addition, AfricanBrains established the Global Online Learning Alliance (GOLA) as a monthly gathering of government officials and educators in response to the pandemic.