Cape Town – The Bard will fall. To be or not to be in the SA schools curriculum is the question that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had to answer when asked about the “decolonisation” of the country’s education system.“Therefore, the consideration of the works of Shakespeare is an aspect of the overall literature review process targeted for 2020 and thus concrete work on this shall only begin in 2018,” Motshekga said in reply to a parliamentary question.

“In response to issues raised by the committee on decolonisation, clarification was given of how the curriculum review process since Curriculum 2005 has included the need for transformation,” Motshekga said.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga expressed her thoughts on Shakespeare work in the schools’ curriculum. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Professor Chris Thurman from the English department at Wits University, who teaches Shakespeare, had said in a previous report that William Shakespeare no longer had relevance for South African children.

“I’m not a school teacher, but it seems to me there is already an element of choice at school level. There are already learners who don’t encounter Shakespeare within the curriculum at high school and that is fine.”

“I’m not particularly anxious if Shakespeare were to fall off the curriculum at school level, particularly if that means there are South African, African or more accessible world literature writers who can be placed in that curriculum,” Thurman said.

Tshepo Motsepe from Equal Education shared their approval of the idea to remove the works from the curriculum. “In our previous teaching and learning summit held in July 2016, we drafted an education charter which called for a review of the curriculum.”

“We recognised the current curriculum as reinforcing colonial teaching and learning while neglecting African literature in particular when looking at what is being taught in our schools. This also applies to the history curriculum. South African and African history has taken a back seat and our learners are not taught the rich history we have as a nation.”

The Western Cape Education Department responded to an inquiry by saying: “The curriculum is set at national level. The Western Cape Education Department’s curriculum experts will provide their input as part of the envisaged review process.”

Cape Argus