Western Cape Schools Ready for 2010
"We are prepared and equipped to start the new school year," said Western Cape Education Minister Donald Grant on Wednesday.
"More than 940 000 learners streamed to Western Cape schools today for the start of the 2010 school year," said Western Cape Minister for Education Donald Grant on Wednesday.
"Schools in the province are well prepared for the start of term, thanks to careful planning which culminated in November 2009."
Grant said that public representatives and senior education officials were among those who visited schools this morning to check on preparations and to learn more about problems facing schools on the first day.
They included members of the provincial standing committee on education and the legislature, representatives of the Department of Basic Education and top management of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
Minister Donald Grant visited seven of the city's schools to assess school readiness and to wish learners and educators well for the 2010 academic year.
These included Vanguard Primary School in Athlone, I.D. Mkize Senior Secondary in Gugulethu, Sithembelo Matiso in New Cross Roads, Groenvlei Secondary in Lansdowne, Groote Schuur Primary and Secondary schools in Rondebosch and Cape Town High School in the City bowl.
Across the province, district officials of the WCED focused on monitoring, providing assistance at schools where there were late registrations and any other last-minute tasks. However, the department found that the overwhelming majority of schools were well prepared for the start of the 2010 school year.
"I believe that our planning campaign played a major role in today's successful start to the new school year," said Grant.
"The WCED monitored school readiness at the end of 2009, using a comprehensive checklist which included infrastructure, safety and security, learning and teaching materials, curriculum and assessment, learner admissions, personnel management and timetabling, among others."
Grant said that late registration continues to be an issue, despite an extensive early enrolment campaign in hot-spot areas during the second and third terms of 2009.
"WCED officials have identified 15 schools in five areas experiencing pressure from late registration. The areas are Mbekweni (Paarl), Mossel Bay, Grabouw, Khayelitsha and Langa. Most of the affected schools serve rapidly growing communities in informal settlements. Officials are working with schools to find places for the children concerned and to finalise registrations. They are also helping schools to finalise timetables and to resolve staffing, administrative and security issues, where necessary."
Grant said that if any other problems arise, the Department would respond on case by case basis.
The WCED opened three news schools today, namely, Avian Park Primary, Worcester, Witteklip Primary, Vredenburg, and Gansbaai Secondary School in Gansbaai.
"The WCED will open Bardale Secondary in Mfuleni in the second quarter. In the interim, the WCED will arrange transport for affected learners to available accommodation at Mzamomtsha Primary in Drift Sands until mobile classrooms are in place at Bardale," said Grant.
"Bardale will cater for at least 400 learners identified late last year. However, this number has probably increased because a new community has settled around the site of the school during the December holiday. The WCED will use all available space effectively as possible to accommodate additional learners, in addition to building new schools and extending existing ones."
The department has installed 27 new mobile classrooms at various schools to accommodate growth.
Other infrastructure issues include vandalised schools.
"While we welcome the continued decline in the number of schools vandalised during school holidays, repairs due to vandalism are an unnecessary drain on limited resources," said Grant.
The department has "growth" posts available to provide additional teachers where necessary. Schools can apply for growth posts via the internet.
The WCED will obtain a clearer picture of learner numbers when schools complete the department's 2010 Snap Survey. They must do so by 26 January using the WCED's online central education management information system (CEMIS).
Meanwhile, suppliers delivered 100% of teaching and learning materials ordered by the WCED for 405 non-section 21 schools by the start of the school year.
Section 21 schools - those who have the capacity to manage their own finances, according to the South African Schools Act - procure their own supplies.
"The WCED is satisfied that they have done so successfully," said Grant.
Suppliers have also delivered 99% of text books ordered by the WCED for a Grade 11 text book project. Every Grade 11 learner will receive five textbooks to assist them in preparing for their National Senior Certificate examinations in 2011. The remaining 1% will be delivered when translators have completed translating certain textbooks.
"Time on task will be a key focus of the WCED in 2010. The department has written to principals and teachers, to outline key priorities, and to assure them that the department will do everything possible to assist them in maximising teaching and learning time. We have also written to parents, reminding them what they can do to assist schools in providing quality education," said Grant.
"However, our main focus must be on delivering quality education, starting with literacy and numeracy in the foundation phase."
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Cell: 072 724 1422
Tel: 021 467 2377