Minister: Bill to make 2 years of preschool compulsory on the cards

Minister: Bill to make 2 years of preschool compulsory on the cards

- Angie Motshekga has announced that a bill will be tabled to make two years of schooling before Grade 1 compulsory

- The Basic Education Minister revealed that the bill is in advanced stages during the SONA debate

- She also announced that the planned Coding and Robotics Curriculum is expected to be implemented by 2022

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motsheka says the bill to make two schooling years before Grade 1 compulsory will be tabled this year.

Speaking during the State of the Nation Address debate on Tuesday, Motsheka commented that:

“We are in the process of declaring the two years prior to Grade 1 compulsory. The Basic Education Amendment Bill, which pronounces on this, will be tabled in Parliament this year." gathered that President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised the investment made in Early Childhood Development would yield great economic benefits over the next two decades.

The minister said that the Ministries of Social Development and Basic Education are at an advanced stage in moving the Early Childhood Development function from the Department of Social Development to the Department of Basic Education, with transitional arrangements already determined.

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The Office of the Chief State Law Advisors have been guiding two main proclamations which are at a draft stage said Motsekga:

“We are in the process of finalising the National Framework for ECD, which we will release for broad consultations early in the 2020/21 financial year. Guided by the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), we are determining the financial and human resource implications of an integrated ECD programme at local, provincial and national levels. We are in the process of conducting a readiness assessment of the DBE [Department of Basic Education] readiness to receive and effectively deliver the ECD function."

One is a national proclamation to be signed by the President, and the other is a provincial proclamation to be signed by Premiers from each province.

Motshekga mentioned a report from the World Economic Forum, which stated that an estimated 60% of the current jobs will disappear in the next 10 years and that new skills will be required to function effectively in the future.

The minister highlighted this as a reason for the state to focus on developing relevant skills:

“It is for this reason that we need to ensure that every South African child is equipped with skills, knowledge and competencies required to function effectively in a changing world, during the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution and beyond. The department has completed the development of the Coding and Robotics Curriculum for Grades R - 9 with the assistance of experts comprising university lecturers, labour, industry experts, our partners in civil society, and education experts within the sector."

The Coding and Robotics Curriculum is currently being piloted in Grades R to 3 and the plan is to fully implement the curriculum in all Foundation Phase schools by 2022.

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