Using the World Cup and Mid-Term Holidays to Support Teaching and Learning
"Keeping our learners safe during the 2010 World Cup and the mid-year holidays is a major concern for this administration," said Minister for Education in the Western Cape Donald Grant on Wednesday.
"Not only do we want to make sure that they are free from harms way, we also plan to make the most of the World Cup, by using the energy around the event to support teaching and learning in our schools."
Last month, the Department of Social Development released its Child Protection Action Plan for the 2010 World Cup, which is a joint initiative between the City of Cape Town, key non-governmental organisations, the Department of Social Development and other government departments, such as Education.
Included in this plan are a number of initiatives developed by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) that are aimed to help improve learner education outcomes leading up to, and during, the World Cup, as well as keep them safe and preoccupied during the longer winter holiday break.
"In terms of the World Cup awareness in our schools, the WCED'S General Education and Training (GET) curriculum advisors, responsible for Grades R to 9, are developing activities and games based on the World Cup to support education in as many subjects as possible," said Grant.
"The department will be distributing the material via the web and in print form during the second term. The tasks will largely refer to the countries participating in the World Cup."
Grant said, in partnership with the Department for Social Development, two schools in 21 priority areas, one primary and one high school, will be open during the school vacation.
"A teacher will be on duty each day at each of the schools. Programmes will be run at the schools to keep the children safe and occupied, and feeding schemes will need to be arranged to feed over 344 000 children," he said.
Grant said that a number of other schools will be open for holiday activities and programmes. For example, the WCED's Safe Schools Division will organise a two-week holiday programme for learners of all ages in June at various schools across the province. The programmes will offer cultural activities and sport, along with developmental courses such as conflict resolution and drug awareness.
"As stated in our strategic plan for education, improving the Grade 12 pass rate is a major priority of ours. Therefore, we are going to turn the long holiday period into an opportunity to help our Grade 12 learners prepare for their final examinations," he said.
"Curriculum advisors for Grades 10 to 12 have prepared guidelines on how to use the five-week holiday for revision for each of the 29 subjects in the national curriculum. The department will also be broadcasting lessons to selected schools from Stellenbosch University using the satellite-based Telematics system, radio broadcasts and Winter Schools."
Grant said that another key education priority of is to improve academic performance in literacy.
"This holiday period will give our learners the opportunity to catch up on their reading. Research has shown that younger learners can lose some of their reading skills if they don't practice reading during long holidays," he said.
"Therefore, we have prepared extensive reading lists for learners of all ages, to encourage holiday and leisure time reading. The department's library support service has prepared the lists specifically with the long December and mid-year 2010 holidays in mind."
The reading lists cover the three official languages of the Western Cape and are available on the WCED web site www.wced.gov.za. The books are generally available in school and public libraries.
"We are currently exploring other means to protect and stimulate our children during this time, and are in constant consultation with the provincial departments and other various roleplayers to develop further programmes," said Grant.
"By encouraging learners to participate in exciting World Cup events at schools, as well as to include teaching and learning support, we can make this holiday a safe, positive and fun learning experience."
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Cell: 072 724 1422
Tel: 021 467 2377