Education Department Rejects Calls To Scrap Life Orientation From Schools



Former Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane took to Twitter to call for Life Orientation to be removed from the school curriculum, but the Basic Education Department has rejected the idea and defended why it should stay.



The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is not looking to scrap Life Orientation from the National School curriculum anytime soon, despite numerous calls from politicians to have it removed on the basis that it does not serve the demands of the future economy.

This discussion first began with former Democratic Alliance member, Mmusi Maimane, voicing his belief that the subject should be removed entirely from South Africa's school curriculum and replaced with "critical thinking, so that kids have a broadened view of what the world looks like."

According to Maimane, Life Orientation serves no purpose when it comes to preparing learners for the demands of the current learning environment and as a result, they gain nothing of true value from the current syllabus.

However, the DBE is rejecting the calls for the removal of the subject, calling it important within the curriculum. Director-General of the DBE, Mathanzima Mweli, has stated that the subject is "extremely underrated by people who are not in education". 

"Life Orientation is for the holistic development of the [school] child. Many people talk about the need for the development of the soul; during the time of our first president, they used to talk about the RDP of the soul. That is what Life Orientation is attempting to do," said Mweli. 

Mweli says the subject supports the efforts of teachers, in various subjects, to support the child "holistically". 

Calling for Life Orientation to be scrapped from the curriculum, "can only be said by those who don't know the value of it, and don't know the value of developing a human being holistically," elaborated the Director-General.

But, Maimane feels differently.

"I am tired of hearing that our young people lack ability, that they have no skills. Our young people are brilliant, they are talented and they are hungry for success. They have been failed by the system. A system that has set low expectations and designed subjects poorly," explained Maimane.

DBE Spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, also jumped into the conversation, calling Maimane’s claims "baseless" and "misguided", admitting that although the subject might need to be further developed, it does serve a purpose within the curriculum. 

The Basic Education Department has stuck to their guns, despite the subject being called into question, adding that the Life Orientation prepares students for life after school. 





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