Content as follows:
Response to negative sentiments raised on social media regarding Circular S9 of 2013 standardising the software tools to implement the CAT and the IT curriculum
The Department of Basic Education wishes set the record straight on the matter of standardising the software tools to implement CAT and the IT curriculum.
Questions have been raised about the rationale for these changes taking place, the background is as follows:
Firstly, from the response in the social media, the impression is given that DBE has totally banned open source software while the announcement only affects two curriculum subjects in Grades 10 – 12 where these tools are used to implement a national curriculum and asses a national examination. It does not affect other activities the DBE is involved with, such as e-learning/ICT integration in other subjects and grades.
Only 0.9% of Grade 12 learners take IT and 9% of Grade 12 learners take CAT.
Secondly, the decision was made in consultation with structures that represent provinces and teacher unions where advice was given that a circular be issued.
Thirdly, the decision is based on educationally sound and pedagogical considerations informed by research regarding the future of the two subjects.
Fourthly, the decision was made considering matters that impact on curriculum delivery and national examinations where different software tools and versions impact on the delivery and fairness of these matters.
Fifthly, matters that negatively affect learners such as migration between provinces or schools that use different tools, the cost to develop resources for different tools and versions, as well as the fact that the vast majority of schools currently use MS Office were also considered.
Based on the above, the need for standardisation of the software tools to implement and assess the subjects was identified.
It needs to be noted that literature suggests that choosing software tools for curriculum programmes is a contentious issue. However it is imperative for the DBE to lead decision making for the interest of the curriculum and the learners.
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