“Inside and outside of the education sector there has been a lot of excitement and anticipation regarding the overhaul of our history education in schools, which has
been characterised by many as perpetuating a colonial or western perspective.”
Department of Education – 18 December 2018
The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, has approved the re-appointment of the History Ministerial Task Team to overhaul the History Curriculum to make it more Afrocentric and relevant to South African learners.
This follows one of the key recommendations of the MTT Report released in December last year that there need to be a complete overhaul of the History Curriculum and Assessment Statement (CAPS) from Grades 4 to 12. This is to ensure that the new history curriculum is representative and covers multiple perspectives, rather than one main dominant and distorted narrative.
The new terms of reference for the task team include the following:
- To develop a new History curriculum from Grade 4 to 12;
To conduct provincial consultation in the education sector and obtain inputs into the new history curriculum;
To receive inputs and comments for consideration on the new History curriculum;
To screen textbooks to ensure alignments with the new curriculum; and
To propose History Teacher development programmes for both Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and In-service Teacher Education.
The Ministerial Task team will comprise the same team initially assembled to conduct the feasibility of making History a compulsory subject throughout the school system.
The MTT will, once again, be led by Professor Sifiso Ndlovu, who has now been given the mandate by the minister to set the direction of history education for the country going forward.
“Inside and outside of the education sector there has been a lot of excitement and anticipation regarding the overhaul of our history education in schools, which has been characterised by many as perpetuating a colonial or western perspective. I have absolute faith in the team of experts that are going to be forging the way forward in terms of how we teach our young people about the past. I believe that a comprehensive, well-rounded and accurate teaching of history will help our learners understand themselves better and assist the country in moving forward together,” said Minister Motshekga.
The task team did extensive work in ensuring that they widely consulted and conducted research before making recommendations.
The MTT increased the scope of the initial comparative study by including countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. They managed to identify areas of weakness and ways to strengthen the curriculum content for Grades 4 – 12. They audited History trainee teachers in Higher Education Institutions in the country. They convened nine provincial consultative meetings from 25 July to 4 August 2017.
They also received inputs from various stakeholders on how to strengthen the GET and FET curriculum content, and sought comments on whether History should be offered as a compulsory subject in the FET band.
The reappointment of the MTT is the next step towards the de-colonisation of the education system in South Africa.