Ramaphosa wants to prepare youth for digital age
The governing African National Congress (ANC) party has highlighted education and development of skills for a changing world among its priorities and critical tasks for 2020.
This is the word from president Cyril Ramaphosa, delivering the ANC’s annual 8 January statement to mark the 108 birthday celebrations of the movement in Kimberley, Northern Cape, at the weekend.
Ramaphosa has been vocal about the critical issues facing the country’s young people, noting more needs to be done to ensure South African youth are employable, especially in the context of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
At last year’s State of the Nation Address, the president promised SA’s education system will undergo a revamp, with government looking to equip every school child with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device over the next six years.
On Saturday, Ramaphosa said the ANC’s priorities this year are informed by the demands contained in the Freedom Charter, which continues to guide everything the party does.
He stated: “The matric results released [last] week demonstrate that South Africa has made great strides in improving educational outcomes over the last 25 years, particularly in township and rural schools.
“However, we must do more to effectively prepare South African youth for the society and economy of the future. We will continue to prioritise the upskilling of educators and school management.”
While Ramaphosa did not elaborate on how government will put this plan into action, his sentiments come as the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is preparing to go live with an ambitious coding and robotics curriculum when schools open on Wednesday.
Last October, the DBE confirmed 1 000 South African public schools will pilot the coding and robotics curriculum starting this month, in an effort to increase skills development and competencies to prepare learners for the 4IR.
Announcing the 2019 National Senior Certificate results last week, DBE minister Angie Motshekga revealed Ms Zora, an artificial intelligence-based educational platform, will be rolled out across South African schools.
Ms Zora was conceived and developed in partnership with ICT skills development initiative, Africa Teen Geeks, and IT company, Apodytes, to support the DBE in its mission to pilot its coding and robotics curriculum.
Motshekga told ITWeb that Ms Zora would assist teachers to effectively integrate technology into subject areas, while increasing access to the quality of education for all South African pupils, regardless of their location, proficiency level and socio-economic circumstances.
“Our learners are our future workers and we have to ensure they are well-equipped and prepared for the 4IR. The right curriculum and appropriate educational tools will help us to benchmark with international standards. Technology will allow us to reach rural schools that are far and out of reach, therefore our kids have to be ready for this exciting revolution.”