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Education dept drafting policy on making history compulsory

The Department of Basic Education has identified history as an emerging priority in the country.

The Department of Basic Education has identified history as an emerging priority in the country. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Basic Education has identified history as an emerging priority in the country.

The department is currently exploring the possibility of making the subject compulsory for all grades.

Last year, the department conducted comparative research on countries that have made the subject compulsory, such as Cuba and Zambia, and found that the pupils there displayed an in depth political understanding.

Spokesperson for the department Elijah Mhlanga says the curriculum change is aimed to contribute to nation building.

"There's no country that can succeed if it doesn't know where it comes from. The risk is that if you don't know your history, chances are, you are likely to repeat the same mistakes of the past."

This comes after the department announced last week that from next year, it will offer the Mandarin language as an additional subject in schools.

The basic education department said the introduction of the Chinese language in public schools is nothing new.

Mhlanga argued the subject is designed to strengthen future relations with the Chinese.