Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries by Alec Lushaba

Af­ter years of com­plain­ing of the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, from Jan­uary next year gov­ern­ment is in­tro­duc­ing a com­pe­tency based cur­ricu­lum in all pub­lic schools from Grade One.

This will be a to­tal de­par­ture to the cheap knowl­edge based cur­ricu­lum which has re­ceived more crit­i­cism across the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal space, the re­cent be­ing Peo­ple’s Par­lia­ment or Sibaya.

Speaker af­ter speaker dur­ing Sibaya and when the newly elected Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment went to meet His Majesty the King, they com­plained about the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem which they de­scribed as good for noth­ing but pro­duc­ing labour­ers.

Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Dr. Sibongile Mntshali told the Ob­server on Satur­day yes­ter­day that gov­ern­ment has been work­ing on the re­view of the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment led by the late Dr. Sibu­siso Barn­abas Dlamini ap­proved the in­tro­duc­tion of com­pe­tency based ed­u­ca­tion start­ing in Jan­uary.

How­ever, Dr. Mntshali was quick to add that this model of ed­u­ca­tion will now cost twice the price of the cur­rent sys­tem.

“The cost is dou­bled by the na­ture of the cur­ricu­lum. Where we used text­books, we will now be re­quired to use work­books and draw­ing books. We are now go­ing to be more prac­ti­cal and will def­i­nitely re­quire dou­ble the re­sources we had in or­der to im­ple­ment it suc­cess­fully.

“We are now await­ing our new min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to re­port on how far we have gone with it and plead for more fi­nan­cial sup­port,” she said.

For­mer ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing min­is­ter Dr. Phineas Ma­gag­ula when called on the rac­tions of Sibaya on the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, con­curred with the PS, say­ing com­pe­tency based ed­u­ca­tion is be­ing in­tro­duced next year in schools.

He said this sys­tem is go­ing to nur­ture pupils’ skills than fo­cus­ing mainly on knowl­edge based ed­u­ca­tion.

Dr. Ma­gag­ula said the com­pe­tency based cur­ricu­lum is tak­ing fur­ther the Pre-Vo­ca­tional pi­lot they in­tro­duced in 16 high schools across the coun­try.

The for­mer ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter also warned that pre-vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion is more ex­pen­sive than it is made to be as it re­quires so­phis­ti­cated equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy.

“Be­fore we left in a part­ner­ship with Eswa­tini MTN we launched a state-of-the art Mpaka Pre-Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre.

“I am sure that those who will come in gov­ern­ment in pur­su­ing the vi­sion of chang­ing our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem they will also see the value of ad­e­quately re­sourc­ing the min­istry. A visit to the 16 high schools that are pro­vid­ing pre­vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion will give them a pic­ture of how much we need to work in or­der to have it across the coun­try’s schools,” he said.

With the Euro­pean Union hav­ing pulled out in fund­ing the Free Pri­mary Ed­u­ca­tion for Grade One next year, pres­sure will be on gov­ern­ment to find more money to sup­port the new cur­ricu­lum and also fund the Grade Ones who in the past eight years have been funded by the EU.

(Pics: Mduduzi Mn­gomezulu)

ON A DITCH: Po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rive to at­tend to a sedan af­ter it landed onto a ditch dur­ing an ac­ci­dent at Malag­wane near the Eden Guest House on Thurs­day. The driver said he was dis­turbed by an­other mo­torist who did not stop af­ter the ac­ci­dent.

IN ONE VOICE: Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Dr. Sibongile Mntshali and for­mer ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing min­is­ter Dr. Phineas Ma­gag­ula.

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