The South African new syllabi – known as the CAPS Documents – have been subjected to public scrutiny, comments have been received - some complimentary, others critical, a few nitpicking. All have been read and considered, and many suggestions have been acted upon, a few have been ignored, minor corrections (like punctuation, inconsistent use of fonts, etc) have been done.
So what lies ahead?
On 3/11, 4/11 and 5/11 an enlarged team will meet to finalise changes, improvements and corrections. This process will be completed during this workshop. That leaves a final language edit as well as a style edit to be done AND VERIFIED before publication.
Some subjects have more contentious issues than others. Technology was generally well received and we should easily be able to complete the changes within the time frame. Other subjects, and protocol prevents me from naming them, were more contentious – akin to a real bun-fight with people championing issues and attempting to ring-fence bits of "territory." When will people realise that the holistic education of children lies at the heart of all our endeavours. There should be no ring-fencing – science can do sedimentary rock because it contains fossils; geography can do sedimentary rock because deposition of sediments is integral to the understanding of certain landforms. There is NO CONFLICT but there is a difference in emphasis – the two approaches complement each other, and there is no competition.
Taking all the above into consideration, and assuming that the Dept of basic Education would prefer to release as sections of CAPS simultaneously, I imagine that the earliest possible release date with be in the first half of December, and – considering the demands of the season – I anticipate that the actual release date will probably be in early January 2011.
This places an enormous strain on Textbook authors, illustrators, translators and publishers. The current expectation that books need to be submitted for approval in MARCH 2011 must be reconsidered. We do not want learning materials to be rushed into print. This practise has previously resulted in sub-standard, error-prone, shoddy materials.
Authors and publishers need the deadline to be shifted to about July 2011. This will allow sufficient time for the production of good quality material; and for it to be reviewed and scrutinised for approval. Approved material can then be catalogued and marketed to schools. Orders can be placed, quantities can be printed, and delivery can take place in time for the implementation starting in January 2012.