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MEC: School system is changing to prepare youth for jobs - but not fast enough

23 February 2021 11:53 AM
Tags:
WCED
Vocational education system
Debbie Shafer
matric results 2020
technical school

Are schools adapting to the future of education? Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer admits that the pace of change is very slow.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) announced the 2020 NSC results on Monday.

Nationally, the matric class of 2020 has achieved a pass rate of 76.2% compared with 81.3% in 2019 and 78.2% in 2018.

In the Western Cape, the matric pass rate is 79.9%, which is a slight drop from the 82.3% pass rate obtained in 2019.

RELATED: Western Cape scores 79.9% matric pass rate - here are the top achievers

Historically, the South African education system had focused mainly on the academic pathway.

But not everyone aspires to be a university graduate, and many South Africans simply cannot afford that option.

MEC Debbie Schäfer says the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) supports the adoption of a three-stream model, which consists of the academic pathway, the technical pathway, and the vocational pathway.

The three-stream model aims to implement curriculum offerings that meet the diverse needs of young people in the country.

It focuses on skills training that is suited for a changing world - with the introduction of more schools of skills and new subjects in mainstream schools such as coding and robotics.

Traditionally, the main focus has been on STEM subjects (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Schäfer says the WCED is shifting its focus to STEAMAC, which includes the arts, agriculture, coding, and computational skills.

While the vision is there, the implementation is happening at a very slow pace.

The MEC says this is because of a combination of factors including education funding constraints, curriculum challenges, and a lack of qualified teachers.

RELATED: We were holding our breath, but results better than anticipated - Umalusi

There have been changes in the education system in the sense of bringing in the three-stream curriculum... It's not been rolled out quickly enough and the final pressures are making it extremely difficult to do so.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

There's been a huge emphasis on STEM for a long time and we've expanded that to STEAMAC, which includes the arts, agriculture, coding, and computational skills.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

One of the things we're introducing is robotics, actually but it's not happening quickly enough.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

We're struggling also to get the right people to teach those subjects.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

DBE is also incorporating entrepreneurial aspects into the curriculum, and they are working on that. It just takes so long to gets things done, unfortunately.

Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Education MEC

The country also needs more technical schools and schools with a variety of occupational subjects such as agricultural studies, digital technology, electronics, hospitality, and consumer studies.

MEC Schäfer also reflects on the success of the partnership which led to the Jakes Gerwel Technical School in Bonnievale, Western Cape.

Listen to the discussion on Today with Kieno Kammies:




23 February 2021 11:53 AM
Tags:
WCED
Vocational education system
Debbie Shafer
matric results 2020
technical school

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