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The grades R to Grade 9 were promised a pilot curriculum on coding and robotics by the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The programme has been pushed back to the next term, according to the department. To address SA’s critical skills gap, government, including the DBE, has made concerted efforts to increase skills development and competencies to prepare learners for the fourth industrial revolution. As a result, at the end of 2017, the department started a framework to introduce coding and robotics as a compulsory subject in all schools.  While the news to rollout a coding and robotics curriculum was publicly welcomed, some red flags were raised, especially on issues such as lack of sufficient teachers really literate in the topics and fundamentals, and availability of resources.
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The past ten days has seen tension and anxiety as the 2019 matriculants awaited the results. Both parents and learners were engulfed in mixed sets of emotions before and after the results. Since the late 1990s, South Africa has been obsessed with the levels of matric results, and there has never been a non-dramatic announcement of results since the dawn of democracy. Our education system has faced numerous challenges culminating from the changes done to the system; changes such as the shutdown of nursing and teachers’ colleges; the dismantling of Technikons; and the changes in basic education curriculum. Indeed, South African years constantly begin with dramas when it comes to education.
Wednesday was school opening day in Gauteng province. Once again, mixed emotions were roused among first time school-goers and their parents. Then news about Khutlo-Tharo Secondary School in Sebokeng were published and broadcasted, that the school was torched on Wednesday morning. It is reported that the school has suffered 17 break-ins since August last year. As a result, learners were sent home for the day so that police specialists could comb the premises. Few weeks earlier, in the early morning hours of 26th December 2019, four ICT classrooms at Tokelo High School in Evaton were burnt to the ground, incurring an estimated R4m in damages, the education department has said.
What a way to start a year in education! The education of our children seem not to be stable even after 26 years of liberation. We have to ask ourselves; what went wrong with our country?  Are we ever going to see an end to this chaos?
As we enter into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), we seem to be moving backwards when it comes to education which is supposed to be preparing our children to play a pivotal role in the digital era. With distraction of educational resources such as ICT facilities, and stealing of computers and laptops in schools throughout the country, the future does not look good regarding preparedness of learners for the digital age. A number of incidents have been reported in the past few years, where schools were burgled and computers stolen. Some of the incidents in 2017;

  • On March 13, 43 computers were taken from Boikgantsho Primary School in Mamelodi. Seven days later, 47 computers were stolen from Greenfields Primary School in Katlehong.
  • On May 11, 55 computers were stolen from Keketso Primary School in Katlehong.
  • On June 4, 49 computers were taken from Walter Sisulu Primary School in Centurion, while Winnie Mandela Primary School in Tembisa lost four computers 10 days later.
  • In the Western Cape, four computers were stolen from Raithby Primary School on July 8.
  • On July 18,  thieves stole 49 computers from Moduopo Primary School in Tembisa.

Crime in this country is big business… the big question is‚ where is all this equipment going? It is frightening that the robbers seemed to have worked out how to overcome the physical barriers to entry and were gaining access to school properties relatively easily. Something has to be done for us to secure the future of our children. These barbaric act must be stopped.  Civil society need to take back the communities and secure the future for the next generation. Unless something is dome, our beloved country is going down. The struggles for the liberation would have been in vain. Civil society organizations are a part of the society, not something coming outside. In order to count organized crime we need to build up civil society in South Africa. Civil society has an important role in monitoring and preventing organized crime and demanding accountability for convicting members of organized criminal groups, but they need a support network to do that.
Civic organizations, as instigators and promoters of civil society development, should make societies sensitive to such detrimental factors as corruption and organized crime. Maintaining public awareness is based on providing for an informed public debate on these issues. We have a pivotal role in fighting corruption and organized crime and produce a double impact by influencing both the public and authorities, as well as assisting government authorities in devising approaches to counter eminent public threats stemming from corruption and organized crime activities.

“Those who work in the criminal justice system, and those who have studied it, take it for granted that the public has a key role in crime prevention and criminal justice. It is the public (the broader community) that is the source of the values, morality and priorities that form the basis for the criminal law and the criminal justice system. It is members of the public (the victims themselves, or witnesses and other third parties) who provide most of the initial reports of suspected offences, and it is the victims and the witnesses who can provide critical information regarding the identity and guilt of the suspect that can be used in criminal procedure. It is from the public that the criminal justice system receives the outreach and manpower necessary to supplement the official criminal justice system through voluntary and, depending on the system, semi-official programmes, such as victim support organizations, mediation projects, community policing projects and volunteer probation officer projects.” Extract from a research paper by Matti Joutsen, titled: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC IN CRIME PREVENTION AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE? THE DEBATE IN THE UNITED NATIONS.

Article by SANGONeT Auditor.

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Read the e-newsletter here: Issue 688: Back to school - Robotics, coding curriculum pushed back

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