Media Alert: Western Cape Government Announces Youth Plans for Spring Holidays
On Friday, learners and educators across the Western Cape will be celebrating the end of the third term and the start of the October “Spring” holidays. While our schools are officially closed for the holidays, the work continues for many of our learners, educators and the Western Cape Government.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) have collaborated in order to ensure that young people have safe places to go during the holidays, as well as, learning opportunities. These programmes aim to keep our youth positively engaged, entertained and safeguarded.
During the holidays there are a number of spring holiday programmes for Grade 12 learners, as well as, various workshops and development programmes for our educators. Safe Schools and DCAS have also organised holiday programmes for learners in various communities at selected schools and MOD centres. The programmes will be launched on Monday 6th October 2014 across all eight education districts in the Province.
Grade 12 Spring Schools
Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is always a priority, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects and subject areas. During the upcoming holidays, the WCED have organised holiday tutoring programmes at various high schools across the Province called “Spring Schools”. The “Spring Schools” aim to assist learners in subject areas that have been identified by the districts and schools as areas that need further support ahead of the 2014 National Senior Certificate, particularly in our underperforming schools. An underperforming school is a school that has achieved less than 60% in the National Senior Certificate (NSC). In the last five years, this province has managed to reduce the number of underperforming high schools from 85 in 2009 to 23 in 2013 - a significant achievement. In 2014, we expect the existing underperforming schools to decrease by around 50%, in line with our goal of decreasing the number of underperforming schools in this province to zero.
With only 18 days to go, our matriculants need all the support they can get, specifically in subjects that they are struggling in.
As a Government, we aim to ensure that as many learners as possible pass their NSC, therefore this period is critical in ensuring that we identify weak subject areas and target support according to individual needs. This week, Grade 12 learners should receive their results from the September ‘mock exams’. Candidates will be able to identify their own individual weaknesses and where they are performing. The holidays will then allow them the opportunity to focus on the subject areas that are weak and to ‘brush up’ on areas that they know they can perform better in. In many cases candidates understand the content, and it is just a case of recapping the content to jog their memory.
The “Spring Schools” offer learners the opportunity to question expert tutors in subject areas that they do not fully grasp. These tutors are selected by the WCED and are experts in their relevant fields. At other schools, curriculum advisors from the WCED are supporting and assisting individual school programmes. The WCED will provide additional resource materials to complement the lessons being presented. The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period. We do, however, encourage all our Grade 12 learners to make use of any available time to revise and learn. The WCED has made available various resources for candidates on the WCED website.
Holiday Programmes for Learners
It is important that we keep our children, as far as possible, safe and preoccupied during the school holiday period. Our Safe Schools holiday programmes and MOD Centres aim to provide a safe, fun and educational environment for learners during the day. At our Safe Schools holiday programme educational programmes on offer include important topics such as substance abuse, HIV/Aids, sexual abuse and gender violence. The WCED, together with various organisations and Government departments, will be offering workshops at various schools on conflict and drug abuse, peer pressure, leadership and communications courses, as well as debating and reading sessions. Fun and physical activities include theory and practical sessions on first aid, kayaking and rock climbing, hiking and swimming, as well as general team building activities. For more information on the Safe Schools Holiday Programme, please contact the Safe Schools call centre on 0800 45 46 47.
DCAS has ensured that most MOD Centres will remain functional during the school holidays and in instances where centres are grouped together under one school, learners will be informed. The centres will be open between 09:00 and 14:00 from Monday to Fridays, in place of the normal schooling hours. Activities on offer at the schools will include: the different sport codes, art and culture activities and indigenous games. The Department has ensured that special focus has been given to high-risk areas such as Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Mitchell’s Plein. Seven schools will be open in Mitchell’s Plein and five will be open in Manenberg. Five schools will be open in Gugulethu including the Gugulethu Sport Complex in order to take a larger volume of learners. Learners will not be required to attend MOD centres at their respective schools. They are more than welcome to attend MOD centres nearest to their homes.
A list of all schools that will be open for business is contained on the DCAS website. Learners are encouraged to attend during the holiday. This opportunity will allow learners in our province to keep safe, active and learning during this time.
Teacher Development and Training
This holiday, a number of courses will be on offer for educators at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute to help develop our educators teaching and leadership skills. The Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute is an in-service Teacher Training Unit of the WCED. These programmes include:
- A reading and Writing Conference: 6 to 7 October 2014.
- Roles and Responsibilities workshop for Deputy Principals: 6 to 10 October 2014.
- Roles and Responsibilities workshop for Heads of Department: 6 to 10 October 2014.
- School Management Team Training: 6 to 9 October 2014.
The programmes take place during the school holiday period so as to not disrupt teaching and learning during the school term.
School Safety during the holiday period is always a concern. In order to protect our schools, as far as possible, from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has arranged increased security at identified schools. 511 schools will receive either 24 hour security or will benefit from cluster patrols this spring holiday. The WCED is also working with various agencies to mobilise community support for schools. We ask every community member to help their schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools immediately to the police. The best protected schools are those where parents and local communities help to look after schools.
In conclusion, the Western Cape Government wish everyone a happy, safe and productive holiday.
For our Grade 12s this is a crucial time for you. Use this time wisely.