The City Press has reported a possible new tier education system in South Africa where students will be divided into three tiers based on their strengths and weaknesses.
According to Business Tech, students will be placed into one of three categories based on their assessed aptitude for each. The tiers are academic, technical occupational and technical vocational.
The academic tier will mirror the current matriculation program.
On the other hand, the technical occupational tier aims to produce students who can leave the education system in South Africa and enter the workplace immediately with skills such as spray painting, hairdressing and woodwork.
According to Mathanzima Mweli, Director General of DBE, “We will introduce these (technical occupational) subjects at grade four and will increase the number of schools offering the new subjects to hundreds or thousands.”
The technical vocational tier will include subjects such as engineering and technical drawing and focus on students who want to study trades. The technical vocational stream will offer 12 subjects.
The department of basic education hopes the new school system will result in 60 percent of students completing technical qualifications.
Moira de Roche, MD of Aligned4Learning, said, “There is no point in forcing a new learner who is good with their hands to do academic subjects. They end up failing and feeling useless, whereas they are good at many things. Hopefully, it will also result in less kids (and their parents) thinking the only option for them is a university.”
Education activist and founder of Partners4Possibility, Louise van Rhyn noted that the new tier system will enable young people to find fruitful careers by providing opportunities that are not solely focused on academic success.
Van Rhyn also said, “In addition to implementing this change, we also need to ensure that we still create opportunities for learners to participate in the knowledge economy, as this is a sure way out of poverty and these skills are critical for our future. We need a much higher percentage of learners with a solid foundation in maths and science.”
According to Business Tech, the new school system is being developed this year and will be tested in 58 schools in 2017.
– Jordan Connell