Minister Schäfer urges parents to help curb latecoming
Statement by Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education
Latecoming is a challenge that many of our schools in the Western Cape face.
This morning, (16 April 2015), I visited Inkwenkwezi Secondary School in Du Noon to assess the late attendance and to ask learners the reasons behind their latecoming, so that we can determine what their challenges are and to assist in finding a solution.
This visit was scheduled after I received reports that there are a large number of serial late-comers at the school, mostly due to the fact that learners could not be bothered to wake up at a suitable time.
13 learners arrived late today. When asked the reason for their late arrival, learners gave the following reasons:
- Some learners had overslept.
- Some learners said they had to get their younger siblings to school.
- Some experienced transport problems.
- Some learners lived on their own and did not have a mobile phone to use as an alarm.
I took down the learners names and these will be recorded. The Principal has also requested that I visit the school and address the learners during an assembly on the importance of attending school on time and prepared, which I committed to do.
It is important for learners to arrive at school on time and prepared as those who arrive late not only miss valuable teaching and learning, but also disrupt lessons for those learners who did arrive on time as their concentration is broken and the teacher has to stop the lesson to deal with the latecomers.
When the learners enrolled at the school, they signed and agreed to the schools code of conduct which states that learners should arrive at school no later than 7:50am, and that late arrivals will need to submit a note from a parent or guardian explaining the reasons for being late.
While I understand that there are a number of factors that could result in learners being late on occasion, such as transport issues, serial latecoming will not be tolerated.
The responsibility of arriving at school on time rests mainly with the learner but also the parents.
Too many of our learners are missing valuable teaching time because of tardiness. If a learner cannot show ‘just cause’ as to why he or she is late, then action needs to be taken.
Today, I met with the Principal, Mr Kutu to discuss what processes can be put in place to make both learners and their parents aware of their responsibilities in ensuring time on task.
Inkwenkwezi Secondary School has come to the following arrangement with its learners:
- The names of latecomers will be recorded daily.
- Latecomers will be sent to detention that same week.
- In cases where a learner has been late for three times in a cycle, the parents will be called in to meet with the class teacher.
While visiting Inkwenkwezi Secondary School, I came across a number of learners that were roaming the streets. They reportedly said that they went to school but were not allowed in because they were late. I will be taking this up with our officials. I sympathise with the Principals as I know they struggle to get learners to arrive on time, but under no circumstances can a learner be locked out of school.
I urge parents to ensure that their children arrive at school on time. In order for their child to achieve academic success, it is important that they arrive at school on time each morning.
We need to bring a sense of discipline into our communities and schools.
Inkwenkwezi Secondary School will be adopting a zero tolerance approach towards latecomers, I encourage all schools to do the same. We have to ensure “time on task” in order to improve our education outcomes.