The following policies and acts guide various aspects of education in South Africa.
Conceived as integral to government’s strategy to build a non-racial nation, this policy aimed to facilitate communication across the barriers of colour, language and region, while at the same time creating an environment in which respect for languages other than one’s own was encouraged. An updated policy, titled Incremental Introduction of the African Languages (Second Additional Languages), was released for public comment in 2013 and is still pending finalisation.
Radically different from the school inspection system carried out under apartheid, this policy prescribed an approach built on interactive and transparent processes, including school self-evaluation, ongoing district-based support, and monitoring and external evaluations conducted by supervisory units.
This policy marked development in the ongoing process of creating an enabling environment within which Adult Basic Education and Training practitioners could improve promotion, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and coordination of their efforts.
This policy aims to facilitate the provision of a comprehensive package of early childhood development(ECD) services for all infants and young children (including children with special needs, disabilities or otherdevelopmental challenges). Its integrated approach to ECD learning leverages many of the provisions of the South African Integrated Programme of Action for Early Childhood Development – Moving Ahead(2013/14–2016/17). It sees ECD as a public good, in line with the National Development Plan which calls to “make ECD a top priority among the measures to improve the quality of education and long-termprospects of future generations”. It also builds on an interim ECD policy that was published in 1997 with the hope of creating a system that would provide opportunities of learning for all, but lacked an integrated approach.
This new curriculum seeks to see every young South African receiving quality schooling by 2030. However, it has a renewed emphasis on curriculum coverage; improving assessments and strengthening quality, efficiency and accountability at all education levels (schools, districts, administrative departments, provinces, etc) and strengthening infrastructure development. It is aligned to the National Development Plan, and seeks to build on the successes in attaining the Millennium Developmental Goals for access, participation and gender equity in education. Prior to the 2014 and 2019 Action Plans was the outcome-based education system introduced in 1998. This system, first called ‘Curriculum 2005’ because it was to be fully in place by the year 2005, intended to democratise education and increase education standards and availability. It was, however, widely criticised, with teachers complaining about being overloaded with administrative work, and unions blaming the system for high failure and drop-out rates.