19 new subjects implemented in schools in South Africa

The Department of Basic Education has published a list of new subjects implemented in schools in South Africa over the past five years.

Many of these subjects aim to directly support students who drop out of school and who will not necessarily complete grade 12 or enter university.

The subjects cover a wide range of fields, including agriculture, art, and various tech-related topics:


1. Art and design

The main objective of the subject is to develop learners as creative and imaginative individuals who appreciate the arts and who have the basic knowledge and skills to participate in artistic activities and to prepare them for possible further studies in the art forms of their choice in continuing education. and training (FET), the ministry said.

2. Agricultural studies

Agricultural sciences are the study of the relationships between soils, plants and animals in the production and processing of food, fiber, fuel and other agricultural products of economic, aesthetic and cultural value.

3. Ancillary health care

Supportive health care aims to teach students about the meaning of health care and wellness and how these skills can be applied in everyday life. This includes helping students take care of themselves, their families and their community, as well as the workplace.

4. Aquaponics

Aquaponics aims to educate students about aquaculture with hydroponics and the ultimate goal of growing plants. The topic also focuses on how aquaponics technology can be used as a possible food source in communities.

5. Aeronautical studies

Aviation studies cover general aviation theory to prepare students for work in the aviation industry.

6. Civil technology

Civilian technology aims to develop the skill levels of learners in Grades 8-9 to such an extent that they are able to enter a career path at a higher education and training institution or university. immediately after obtaining the higher national certificate.

Learners will then be ready to begin an apprenticeship to prepare them for a trade test.

7. Consumer studies

Some of the issues learners will learn in Grades 8 and 9 consumer studies include:

  • Consumer rights and responsibilities;
  • Consumer protection policies;
  • Complaints channels;
  • How to rate food stores, clothing stores, furniture and appliances;
  • How to assess the design features of interiors, furniture and appliances;
  • Responsible purchasing behavior;
  • Responsible use of resources such as water and electricity;
  • Ways to curb global warming.

8. Digital technology

Digital technology is the use of computers, applications and Internet technologies to enable users to communicate, create, store, distribute and manage information and solve real problems using appropriate tools and techniques .

9. Early childhood development

As part of early childhood development (ECD), the learner will be able to:

  • Understand how ECD centers are managed;
  • Maintain a healthy and safe environment;
  • Develop teaching and learning resources;
  • Understand how babies, toddlers and toddlers develop;
  • Show how to care for babies, toddlers and toddlers.

10. Electrical technology

Electrical technology aims to provide the learner with a solid foundation in electrical electronics and digital principles.

It provides a foundation of quality standardized general education that will meet the needs of learners and help them prepare for life after school and enable them to access a particular job or professional learning in the workplace.

11. Hotel studies

In the 8th and 9th years of hotel studies, the learner will study:

  • Sectors of the hotel industry;
  • Career opportunities in different sectors;
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities in the hospitality industry;
  • Responsible environmental operation;
  • Principles of safety, security and hygiene;
  • Planning and costing of menus;
  • Kitchen and catering operations.

12. Maritime sciences

Maritime sciences include four pillars: marine biology, oceanography, ocean ecosystems, and humans and the ocean. The subject includes 85 topics, including marine branch lines, water chemistry, gas laws used for scuba science, sustainable seafood, aquaculture, and marine protected areas (MPAs).

13. Maintenance and upholstery

Maintenance covers the skills and knowledge required to perform basic repair and maintenance work at a basic level with a focus on domestic and small construction environments.

Maintenance skills are used by DIY enthusiasts who keep equipment from breaking down and materials from deteriorating to fix minor issues before they become more serious.

14. Mechanical technology

Within the framework of this subject, a learner will be able to:

  • Adhere to and identify safe working practices and demonstrate safe working conditions on a daily basis, also adopting appropriate safety and first aid procedures;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanical industry and its productivity requirements by applying appropriate work procedures;
  • Understand and interpret work instructions and drawings for the completion of projects;
  • Apply mechanical technology, techniques, processes and skills, as applied in manufacturing and the mechanical industry, using appropriate measuring tools and equipment.

15. Mining sciences

Cover the metals and minerals found and mined here in South Africa and the general science around mining in South Africa.

16. Personal care

This qualification recognizes the basic skills, knowledge and values ​​of learners to operate in the personal care industry. It aims to develop learners who, when completed, will be qualified effectively to prepare for entry into the industry.

17. Technical mathematics

Technical mathematics aims to apply mathematics to technical fields where the emphasis is on application rather than abstract ideas. Mathematical modeling is also an important focal point of the curriculum, and actual technical problems are incorporated into all sections where appropriate.

18. Technical sciences

The main objective of technical sciences is to support learners in the three focus areas of technology, namely mechanical technology, electrical technology and civil technology. Learners will have an NQF level 4 competence in technical sciences.

Learners in technical high schools will be able to integrate scientific knowledge in a more informed way in their offer of technology subjects. Scientific concepts and skills are also more accessible to learners with a technical orientation at school.

19. Wholesale and retail

Within the framework of this subject, a learner will be able to:

  • Explain the role of all industry players and stakeholders;
  • Analyze an income statement;
  • Identify the requirements of points of sale in terms of service levels and product offerings according to their target market;
  • Receive stock and explain the requirements for shipping stock;
  • Explain the concept and methods of merchandising products on the shelves as well as the importance of displaying prices and methods of displaying tickets;
  • Explain why businesses promote, how to reach target markets, and how to display promotional items;
  • Explain how to record sales, accept and record payments, receipts and deposits.

New incoming topics

Schools in the interior of South Africa will reopen on Wednesday January 12, while the group of coastal schools in the country will return a week later on January 19.

Several new topics are expected to be tested and introduced over the coming year, including entrepreneurship and coding, and robotics.

The department said 540 schools would be monitored nationwide for the implementation of mandatory entrepreneurship training. The initiative is led by President Cyril Ramaphosa and is expected to be officially part of the curriculum by 2024. Ramaphosa has already highlighted the importance for South Africans to adopt a culture of entrepreneurship as the country aims to attract 1.2 trillion rand in investment over five years.

54 schools are also monitored for the piloting and implementation of the coding and robotics program. The subjects will be part of the curriculum at different grade levels, from R to 9th grade.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga also announced the gradual introduction of African Languages ​​(IIAL), which will target schools that did not offer a previously marginalized official African language.

The minister said her department was also advancing its “mother tongue education” plans, with students allowed to study and take exams in their mother tongue.


Read: Fee data for South Africa shows how struggling parents and schools are

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