Department on calls to scrap Life Orientation: Baseless and misguided

The Department of Basic Education has condemned those who call for Life Orientation to be scrapped as a subject in the South African syllabus. This comes as numerous citizens voiced their opinion that the subject fails to teach students any tangible life skills. 

The Department of Education insists that students are prepared for reality with the current Life Orientation curriculum, despite recent backlash. Image: Department of Education / Twitter

The Department’s Elijah Mhlanga has come out in firm defence of the subject’s inclusion in the curriculum, although even he admits it needs some work.

“Life Orientation is an important subject in the curriculum. Yes, we need to strengthen the way it is taught but calls to scrap it are unfounded, baseless and misguided. Period!”

Elijah Mhlanga

Along with this comment, Mhlanga shared a Department message clearly in response to criticism levied against it in recent times. The message clarified the ‘purpose’ of Life Orientation in the current curriculum used by South African students nationwide. 

Life Orientation ‘prepares’ students for life

The Department is adamant that the subject prepares students for life. Certianly, the backlash hasn’t changed their perception that the subject is adequete preparation for the real world.

“Life Orientation guides and prepares learners for life and its possibilities and equips them for meaningful and successful living in a rapidly changing and transforming society.” 

“Life Orientation aims to guide learners to make informed decisions about their health, environment, subject choices, further studies and careers.” 

“Life Orientation is aimed at developing and engaging learners in personal, psychological and neuro-cognitive, motor, physical, moral, spiritual, cultural and socio-economic areas, so that they can achieve their full potential in the democracy of South Africa.”

Department of Education

Not everyone agrees with this

While the Department seems determined to defend their subject, former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane was among the first to call for it to be scrapped entirely.

“I have looked at the curriculum for LO and it is not suited to our present needs for the digital economy and knowledge economy. For example this is insufficient for our young people in 2021.”

Mmusi Maimane

The politician insists that South African youths are being failed by the education system.

“We must scrap Life Orientation and replace it with critical thinking and general knowledge. 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.”

Mmusi Maimane

Life Orientation is an important subject in the curriculum. Yes, we need to strengthen the way it is taught but calls to scrap it are unfounded, baseless and misguided. Period! @DBE_SA pic.twitter.com/RRB8tAOsye

— Elijah Mhlanga (@ElijahMhlanga) January 6, 2022

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