Implementing the national curriculum statement : a case study of FET history educators in the Umlazi District, KwaZulu-Natal.
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The study focused on education within a public administration paradigm. It highlights the development of curriculum policy in South Africa after 1994 by detailing the theories and models used in analysing public policy. Specific reference is made to the implementation of education policy, inter alia, the National Curriculum Statement: A case study of FET History in the Umlazi District, KwaZulu-Natal. An attempt at transforming South Africa’s education policy post-1994 came with the implementation of the policy model known as Curriculum 2005 (C2005), which was officially launched on 24 March 1997. The principles of C2005 signalled a new era for education policy-making and implementation in South Africa. During the implementation of the C2005 policy, there was a groundswell of disconcert among educators regarding the complexities and the concomitant difficulties in effecting the new modes of assessment. In 1999, former Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal, embarked on a ‘listening campaign’ out of which emerged his ‘Call to Action’. A Review Committee was subsequently appointed to investigate the structure and design of C2005. It recommended a policy shift referred to as the Revised National Curriculum Statements (RNCS) for the General Education and Training (GET) and Further Education Training (FET) phases. In 2006, the interim policy referred to as Report 550, was replaced with the new policy known as the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) for the FET phase. The essence of the NCS emphasised the development of a high level of knowledge and skills for all learners. The training of educators and implementation of the NCS policy occurred between 2006 and 2008 across all public schools in the Republic of South Africa. The first cohort of learners matriculated under the new NCS in 2008 and the results were less than satisfactory, leading to widespread criticism. Arguably, the implementation of the NCS led to a decline in the percentage pass rates of learners writing the National Senior Certificate examinations (Grade 12). In 2009, the national pass percentage was 60.6% while in KwaZulu-Natal the pass percentage was 61.1%. Education stakeholders complained about the inadequate subject-specific training and the demanding administrative workload. The primary aim of this study was to ascertain the levels of efficacy of the implementation of the NCS policy with specific reference to FET History in the Umlazi District, KwaZulu-Natal. In order to corroborate the hypothesis of this study an empirical investigation was undertaken which consisted of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Data gathered was analysed using the Predictive Analytic Soft Ware (PASW) Statistics version 18.0. The findings of the research study reveal specific trends and scenarios. Generally, FET History educators and Curriculum Specialists from the Umlazi District and from other districts within the province of KwaZulu-Natal, indicate the NCS was not effectively implemented because of the following key reasons: · All role players were not adequately consulted. · The FET training workshops lacked depth, were inadequate and often poorly co-ordinated. · There were far too many and often-contradictory policy documents which led to an increased administrative burden on FET educators. · The lack of effective monitoring and evaluation of the NCS implementation across the grades in the FET band. · Inadequate provision of relevant resource materials such as textbooks, and where available, these were not effectively used. · Content overload, especially in Grade 12. · Ambiguous and unattainable assessment requirements. · Insufficient and poorly trained Curriculum Specialists. The job description of Curriculum Specialists needs urgent and swift clarification. Based on these findings several detailed and practical recommendations were suggested. In addition, a curriculum implementation model has been developed to assist FET History educators specifically with any further curriculum-related matters.
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