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Staff: Squirrel Mail


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A highly questionable approach in the proposed curriculum

The Department of Basic Education appears to be working on a curriculum that will deliberately introduce coding (computer programming) and robotics into our children’s education as early as Grade R. The draft document that is being circulated suggests that its writers are very much in favour of promoting technological interaction to very young children, without realising how inappropriate their approach is.

In the educational software described above, children will be subjected to often simplistic ideas from software developers without well-founded ideas about child-friendly materials. Instead of manipulating something that is real, the children will be drawn into a virtual world, with virtual tools based on programmatic thinking, which is not developmentally child-friendly.

The world view of the curriculum developers, described in the draft document, is particularly simplistic and unrealistic. The document states that medical doctors will lose their jobs because artificial intelligence is already able to diagnose medical problems 95% correctly – this makes one wonder whether the author would rather consult a robot instead of his/her GP.

Also teachers are expected to lose their employment. Apparently the authors have blind faith in their own skills in terms of teaching their children. Interestingly, the alternative schools in Silicon Valley (USA) cater for large numbers of children from high-tech IT professionals, who know how important it is for children to grow up and learn in a non-technological environment.