Regression or Evolution

Cape Times (South Africa), November 12, 2010 | Go to article overview

Regression or Evolution


NEWS that the Department of Basic Education is considering dropping the study of human evolution from the compulsory curriculum is disturbing.

Draft changes to the social sciences curriculum suggest that the study of human evolution be removed from the Grade 7 history curriculum, where it has been taught for the past eight years.

The topic will still be taught in Grades 10 to 12 biology classes, according to the draft. But not all students choose biology at that level, while history in Grade 7 is compulsory.

As a result, if the draft changes are implemented, some students will not learn about human evolution - described by Stellenbosch University zoologist Michael Cherry as the unifying theory in biology - at school.

Concerns that the recommendations might have religious motivations have been dismissed by education expert Barbara Johannesson, who drafted the document. That is reassuring. Religious fanatics hostile to science have no place in the drafting of our school curricula. After all, as Johannesson pointed out, human evolution is a scientific theory with the same weight as the theory of gravity. …

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