The recent announcements by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the government is planning to introduce a number of technology-focused subjects to the curriculum is deeply troubling and disappointing. It gives the impression that the government is still preparing for the third industrial revolution.

It is unacceptable that while the economy is haemorrhaging jobs and the education system is producing redundant skills sets, the government is still in the planning phase.

It follows in the footsteps of the department of basic education recently announcing that it had trained only 43,774 teachers in computer skills and would shortly begin training teachers for the new coding curriculum.

How is it possible that so many teachers have been sitting in our schools with no basic understanding of technology? Recent reports show that about 65% of students entering the schooling system in 2019 will be doing jobs that do not exist now.

It is alarming considering that 60% of pupils around SA go to schools that lack electricity. A total of 3,544 schools are not electrified. Add the poor safety of our schools, where burglaries and the looting of school equipment is common, and it spells disaster because even well-resourced schools are failing pupils due to theft. The Click Foundation recently revealed that 258 laptops have been stolen in seven Gauteng schools since the beginning of the year.

SA needs to wake up and realise that we have a lot of catching up to do. We cannot continue to produce matriculants who struggle to read. The 40% average pass rate in Grade 12 means that young people will never compete with their global counterparts.

Basetsana Dikobe
Cosatu communications officer

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