Western Cape Provincial Government Releases Strategic Plan for Education
- Improved academic performance in Literacy and Numeracy (Grades, 3, 6 and 9).
- Improved National Senior Certificate performance.
- Reduction in learner drop-out rate.
It is important to state at the outset that there is no quick fix when it comes to improving the quality of education provided in the Western Cape. It is only through a sustained, focused and systematic approach that we will achieve the targets we have set.
The period 2010-2014 will lay the foundation for the dramatic improvements in learner performance that will follow in the period 2014-2019, as learners reap the fruits of a system that has been designed and managed to deliver on the targets set.
While the Western Cape education system is arguably the best in the country, it is showing signs of severe distress. Indicators such as the matric pass rate, which should be improving are, in fact, declining, while the indicators which should be declining, such as the number of dysfunctional schools are, in fact, increasing.
The factors that are contributing to this situation include the following:
- inadequate time and attention paid to reading, writing and counting in the first three grades of school
- inadequate quality textbooks and other learning materials
- the low morale of teachers
- weak school management and leadership
- lack of capacity in many School Governing Bodies (SGBs) to govern schools properly
- slow rate of response and support from the education department
- the negative effects of social ills such as crime, vandalism, gangsterism and drugs on schools
The combined effect of these factors has led to poor learner performance. The Grade 12 pass rate is declining. In 2004 we achieved an 85% pass rate, but this has dropped steadily over the last five years to 78, 67% in 2008.
Our literacy and numeracy results are also particularly disturbing. The Province's assessment results for 2004-2009 for Grade 3 and Grade 6 literacy and numeracy reveal that on average, 900 (86%) of our primary schools achieved less than a 40% pass rate (50% or better) in numeracy for Grade 6.
Currently, too many of learners are being pushed through the system, despite being unable to master literacy and numeracy at the appropriate grade. Unable to cope at higher levels, many of these learners drop out of school or fail to pass Grade 12.
Of the 94784 learners who enrolled in public schools in the Western Cape in 1997, only 43 470 made it to Grade 12. Of those learners who remained in school, only 33% qualified for entry to a higher education institution.
In order to improve education outcomes and reverse these trends, the Western Cape provincial government will focus on the following priorities:
- Literacy and numeracy
- Faster response times and support
- Improving teacher moral
- Quality texts and materials
- Poverty and crime
- School maintenance
- Migration and new schools
- School management and leadership
We will improve literacy and numeracy outcomes by directing maximum resources (both human and financial) to the first three years of schooling. This will be coupled with compulsory testing of learners from Grades 1 to 6 from 2010 throughout the province. Benchmarks and targets will be set for each school.
All officials and principals will sign performance contracts with targets for improving learner performance. These contracts will be monitored on a quarterly basis. There will also be far greater attention focused on the management of schools at the district level, with officials and teachers held to account for their role in improving individual school performance.
We will improve the responsiveness and efficiency of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) through a focus on changing the organisational culture and improving the department's business processes and systems. The Head Office and District offices of the WCED will be structured, designed and equipped to provide rapid response service and support to schools and teachers.
We will reduce the administrative workload of teachers to provide more time for teaching. Teachers will be provided with texts on time. Teachers will also be provided with opportunities for ongoing professional development and training. Officials will provide administrative and academic support to teachers and schools on demand.
The WCED will, over the next three years, ensure that every classroom is text-rich with reading books for Grade 1-6 classroom and textbooks for all grades 4-12 for each subject.
The WCED, in collaboration with other government departments and None Governmental Organisations (NGOs), will provide food and other poverty alleviation measures to address the needs of poor learners. We will strive to make schools safer through physical safety measures and greater cooperation with the South African Police Service (SAPS). The WCED, in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, will conduct random inspections and tests at schools for drugs and weapons.
The WCED will develop a list of priorities for infrastructure maintenance and adopt the most effective and efficient means of maintaining schools including public -private partnerships.
The WCED will direct its human and financial resources to those districts and schools that have historically experienced under-investment.
The Western Cape government will use the best available research to plan for the in-migration to the Western Cape and use research trends to ensure that schools and teachers are available to provide quality education to children who enter the province.
The WCED will provide targeted management training and in-school support to all members of school management and SGBs.
The need to improve education outcomes will inform every decision taken in relation to education in the Western Cape. This administration is determined to ensure that over time every learner in this province receives a quality education and is able to read, write and calculate at the required level.
We will do everything in our power to achieve this objective.
Education Outcomes: Strategic Objectives 2010 - 2019
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry for Education
Cell: 072 7241 422
Tel: 021 467 2377