The education ministries of South Africa and China are forging ahead with the implementation of a collaboration agreement, which includes equipment provision, and the teaching Mandarin in some South African schools, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's office said on Sunday.
This follows a visit to China in the past week where Motshekga said she was impressed by achievements in maths, science and technology there, as well as that country's separation of academic and vocational streams.
"We hope to learn from the Chinese experience through the exchanges of knowledge and human capital, which we believe will be extremely beneficial," Motshekga said in a statement.Last March the Chinese and South African presidents signed a collaboration agreement, during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to South Africa, and this agreement extended to education.
"In line with strengthening our participation and success rate in mathematics, science and technology we will be working with China to provide the requisite equipment and reposition our institutional arrangements to deliver in this area," Motshekga said.
The department was also reviewing its national curriculum statement to improve its split between academic and vocational streams to encourage more schools to offer vocational subjects. China has already achieved a 50-50 split in this regard.
Motshekga also visited the Chinese National Institute of Educational Sciences as South Africa begins setting up its own mathematics and science office with the view of developing it into an institute outside the bureaucracy of the department.
With the help of the Chinese government a curriculum for the teaching of Chinese will be developed to be offered in some schools around the country. "As South Africa's biggest trading partner it is important for our children to become proficient in the Confucius language and develop a good understanding of Chinese culture," she said.