Three Years on: Meeting the Objectives in our Strategic Plan
One of the overarching goals of the Western Cape Government is to provide quality education to all the learners in this province, which is the cornerstone of our vision of an open opportunity society for all.
To make this vision a reality, in November 2009, we planned and released a strategic plan for education for the years 2010 -2019.
The objective of the plan is to improve academic performance in Literacy and Numeracy and the National Senior Certificate, as well as, to reduce the number of underperforming schools.
In order to achieve this, the plan focuses on 10 key priority areas and also sets out targets for improvement in the Province.
As an open and accountable Government, we are subject to review in achieving the objectives as set out in this plan. Therefore, we constantly question whether we are fulfilling our commitments as set out in the plan, we review the priorities, and analyse learner results.
It has now been three years since this plan was adopted. And today, the Western Cape Government can confidently say that we have made progress with establishing the foundation necessary to achieve the objectives of improving the quality of education and learner outcomes in the Western Cape.
The attached document will provide you with a full summary of our ten strategic priorities and what we have achieved to date.
I would like to emphasise that none of our 10 key priorities has changed. They all remain the same, as they were formulated in 2009. There is no "shifting of the goal posts" to suit our needs or to hide failures. These are the objectives we have set, the objectives that will carry us till 2019.
It is a sustained, focused and systematic approach that will see us in the period 2010-2014 laying the foundation for solid improvements in learner performance in the period that will follow in 2014-2019, during which learners will reap the benefits of a system that has been designed and managed to deliver on the targets set.
In the last three years we have identified both short and long term measures that will help us achieve our goals. We have tackled, head on, the short term goals such as accelerating the publication of vacancy lists and improving communication systems.
Long term goals such as infrastructure development and the rollout of broadband to schools will take some time, but we have built the foundations to achieve them.
Some recent key highlights include:
• The launch of an incentive programme that financially rewards primary and high schools that have improved the number and quality of passes achieved in the literacy and numeracy testing and the NSC. (Pg. 4)
• The allocation of 650 additional posts to the Foundation Phase since 2009 in order to keep the learner: teacher ratio as low as possible in the critical Foundation Phase period. (Pg.4)
• The setting of targets for the Grades 3, 6 and 9 literacy and numeracy tests and the National Senior Certificate to strengthen accountability. (Pg.5)
• The creation of the School Improvement Plan System (SIPS) – an online management tool that requires each principal to submit and update a set of school-based information that can be used for effective planning purposes. (Pg.5)
• The delivery of 1 500 PC tablets to school principals to improve the way in which we communicate with and provide support to our principals. (Pg.5)
• The introduction of a new online e-recruitment system that will make it much easier for teachers to apply for jobs in the province. (Pg.6)
• The adoption of a new system for the filling of principals’ posts aimed at ensuring that these are filled as and when required. (Pg.6)
• The first phase implementation of broadband access to schools. (Pg.8)
• The launch of the School Resource Officer pilot project. (Pg.9)
• The approval of additional funding for public schools serving poorer communities which includes the equalization of the per learner amounts to no-fee schools and an increase in per learner amounts to over 300 fee-paying schools. (Pg.11)
• The payment of over R30 million to our fee-paying schools as compensation for fee exemptions granted to learners in 2011. (Pg.11)
• The development of a new electronic tool for improving infrastructure planning for education in the Western Cape, namely the Geographic Information System (GIS) for Infrastructure Planning. (Pg.11)
• The release of our new infrastructure plan which will see the completion of 26 new schools, 46 replacement schools, 5 replacement classroom projects ,124 Grade R classrooms and numerous maintenance projects. (Pg.12)
• The awarding of 230 new bursaries to aspirant and existing school principals to improve their qualifications through the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) in School Management and Leadership. 124 completed their studies in 2011 and 248 continue in 2012. (Pg.12)
• The release of guidelines for school governing bodies on how to select the best nominees for principal’s posts, as well as, guidelines on how to improve the financial management of schools. (Pg.13)
While the Western Cape still has some way to go to achieve the objectives set out in its strategic plan, we can point to significant progress that has been made so far.
In 2010, we laid the foundations needed to complete this plan, and in 2011 and 2012, we built on these foundations, specifically targeting our poorer schools and the Foundation Phase.
We are extremely proud of what we have achieved and are expecting even further improvements in both literacy and numeracy and in the National Senior Certificate this year.
These results will also determine what strategies are working and will provide us with new targets for the 2013 school year.
In everything we do, we will continue to put our learners first and ensure that our teachers are treated as the valued professionals that they are.
Every decision taken in relation to education in the Western Cape will continue to be informed by the need to improve learner outcomes in this province and to provide greater access to quality education.