Life orientation in the intermediate phase (grades 4-6): A survey in selected Western Cape primary schools, South Africa

  • KJ Van Deventer
Keywords: Outcomes-based Education, National Curriculum Statement, General Education and Training Band, Intermediate Phase, Life Orientation, Physical Development and Movement, teacher training.

Abstract

To eradicate the inequalities of the apartheid education system the outcomes-based education (OBE) master plan, Curriculum 2005 (C2005), was launched in 1997 and implemented in 1998. In 2000, C2005 was revised and renamed the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS) which gradually became known as the National Curriculum Statement (NCS). Within the new education system, a new Learning Area called Life Orientation (LO) was introduced. Life Orientation presents five learning
outcomes of which one, Physical Development and Movement (PDM), resembles Physical Education (PE). Because LO consists of different constituents (Guidance, PE, Religious Education, Youth Preparedness) it was deemed necessary to investigate certain aspects of the implementation of LO. The focus of this article was on the Intermediate Phase (IP [Grades 4-6]) in the General Education and Training Band (GET). The main problem was to determine the perspectives of LO teachers regarding the implementation of LO and particularly the Learning Outcome, PDM, in the IP in selected primary schools in the Western Cape, a province in South Africa (SA). Quantitative data captured by means of a
questionnaire typify the research design as a survey. A total of 124 primary schools were randomly selected of which 45 IP teachers (N=45) returned questionnaires. Summary statistics using frequency tables and histograms were utilised. The data were analysed by using Statistica 8.0 (STATSOFT, 2007). Every aspect as stipulated by the NCS seemed to be in place for the presentation of LO in the IP. However, 51% of the LO teachers were not qualified to present LO as an integrated whole which
created major problems for the status of LO as a Learning Area in schools. The situation holds specific implications for the growth and development of IP learners. It is recommended that the Department of Education (DoE) should take the initiative and lead in this regard to urgently provide specialist LO teachers for the IP. However, Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) should become more involved in training initiatives for prospective teachers in LO.
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