Curriculum changes planned for future skills development

digital and future skills strategy for South Africa

Further curriculum changes are planned for future skills development in our increasingly digitised future, ensuring the country’s youth have the essential skills they need.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) has published a new white paper. It focuses on a nationwide “digital and future skills strategy for South Africa” and traces the way forward in ensuring the country’s youth have the essential skills they need to be prepared for the workplace.

It has become clear that the country’s youth will have to have considerable digital and 21st-century life skills. These include scientific, digital, financial and cultural savvy.

The inclusion of robotics and coding have already been planned for, and the DCDT believes further changes should be made. The most important of these is the introduction of digital-focused subjects in schools.

The DCDT foresees the need for the development of a curriculum designed to encompass computing, coding and a range of digital skills. In addition to digital skills, the department has identified originality, agility, critical thinking and problem solving abilities as important 21st century abilities.

The proposed subjects for the curriculum changes planned include:

  • 3-D printing
  • Design and use of algorithms
  • Artificial intelligence apps
  • Big data analytics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Drone applications
  • Gamification
  • Mechatronics and robotics
  • Simulation
  • Software engineering

The department also stressed that the review of the curriculum should place importance on language and mathematics curricula, as these constitute foundation knowledge for digital learning.

“Curriculum review and design will require attention to computational thinking and problem solving, data literacy and analytical skills, as well as mobile literacy relevant to the increasingly wider range of mobile digital devices,” says the DCDT.

The review of the curriculum would need to take into account that teachers’ digital skills would also need to be enhanced and improved. Greater digital investment in schools, as well as investment in tablets and broadband, would also need to happen.

This would affect:

  • Teachers from Grades R to 12 who will teach coding, CAT (computer applications technology), IT and fundamentals of computer science;
  • Teachers from Grades R to 12 who will teach accounting, biology, languages, mathematics and science using digital tools and applications.

Due to the sheer numbers of the teachers involved, the training could be provided either via online or mobile platforms, or a combination of both. The teacher training curricula would need to be amended to reach this goal.

All these proposals will require fast, reliable internet access, which will also need to be accessible out of school hours for communication, research and homework assignments.

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