News

Minister Grant Announces School Holiday Plan for 2010 World Cup

24 May 2010

When it was first announced last year that there would be an extended five week holiday in June 2010 to accommodate the FIFA World Cup, the Western Cape Education Department undertook to develop a pro-active strategy that would ensure that teaching and learning would not be undermined over this period.

A long holiday period poses a threat to the sustained reading, writing and calculating abilities of our children, breaks the rhythm of instruction by educators, and can also lead to a lack of retention of the curriculum taught in the first half of the school year. Therefore, a significant amount of revision of the curriculum is usually required once the learners return to school.

To mitigate this threat, the WCED have developed a comprehensive School Holiday Plan for 2010 that uses the energy around the event to enhance teaching and learning both at school and at home and support curriculum delivery. These initiatives and activities are based on the premise that children learn best when instruction is continuous.

Safe Schools have also developed a number of programmes that will keep our learners safe and off the streets. These programmes will keep our learners occupied both mentally and physically during this period.

It is essential that while all citizens of this province, including learners, enjoy the spectacle of the World Cup, that parents, learners and teachers make every effort to ensure that all our learners are encouraged to read, write and calculate every day during the school holiday.

Academic Interventions

The WCED has developed a number of curriculum support programmes that will enhance learning over the holiday period. These programmes support all grades, with a particular focus on our Grade 12s who will begin writing the National Senior Certificate Examinations in just 152 days time.

Extending teaching and learning in our schools

It is most encouraging that a significant number of our schools, both primary and secondary, have elected to shorten the holiday period by either closing their doors two weeks later then the official start of the holiday, or by opening a week before the end of the holiday. Although we have encouraged this throughout the term, the decision by School Governing Bodies to continue teaching and learning was entirely voluntary and reflects the determination of our educators to improve learner outcomes in the Western Cape.

The majority of these schools are secondary schools, who have opted to host winter school programmes for Grade 12s.

These programmes are a continuation of the WCEDs Grade 12 strategy, which has seen our underperforming schools participate in extra classes after school and on weekends throughout the second term.

Winter schools are an effective intervention to counteract holiday learning loss. Research has revealed that holiday programs focusing on remedial, accelerated, or enriched learning have a positive impact on the knowledge and skills of learners.

Therefore, a large number of our underperforming schools will be embarking on winter school programmes, focusing on critical subject areas such as Maths, Physics, Accounting, Life Sciences and Geography.

As part of the WCED's "Own your future. Own your success. Study hard to pass YOUR matric" campaign, the WCED initiated a number of tutorial programmes throughout the province in the second term.

These programmes will continue to run throughout the holiday period.

The tutoring programme aims to increase the pass rate in high enrolment subjects with high failure rates. These are Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics. In 2009, each of these subjects had over 10 000 enrolments with a failure rate of more than 20%.

The tutors that present the programmes are experienced teachers who have achieved excellent results in previous years in these subject areas. The programmes are offered at selected venues so that learners from a number of nearby schools can attend.

In June 2010, 154 venues will hold these programmes in the 8 districts:

  • Metro North 34
  • Bringing teaching and learning into the home

    We strongly advise that all learners, particularly in the higher grades, use the holiday period for revision and practice purposes. This can be done at home, or in quiet study areas.

    Therefore, the WCED's 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 for the NSC examinations.

    Past examination papers will be delivered to district offices this week for distribution to schools and tutoring centres.

    High level tuition will also be offered on SABC 1 every day from 14h00 to 15h00. The programme of subjects and topics to be offered is available from the WCED website or district offices.

    To escape distractions at home, the WCED has ensured that study rooms at schools will be made available for learners in areas such as Khayelitsha (10 venues available) and Mitchells Plain (5 venues available).

    These rooms will be safe and secure places for studying, and will provide past examination papers, textbooks and study guides for use by learners.

    Grade 12 learners are encouraged to make use of their "Tips for Success" booklets, which provides them with information on how to plan their revision programme, tips on how to study, how to remember what they have studied and how to write examinations successfully.

    Research has shown that younger learners can lose some of their reading skills if they don't practice reading during long holidays.

    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 (http://wced.wcape.gov.za - see "information for parents"). The books are generally available in school and public libraries.

    Safe school programmes

    As mentioned above, Safe Schools have also developed a number of programmes, with the support of other provincial departments such as Cultural Affairs and Sport and Social Development, which will keep our learners occupied both mentally and physically during this period.

    The programmes will offer cultural activities and sport, along with developmental courses such as conflict resolution and drug awareness.

    The Safe Schools programme will be offered at 64 centres throughout the province (8 per district) and it is anticipated that each of the centres will attract learners from 4 to 6 schools. The programme will focus on the following aspects:

    Conclusion

    A letter from the Head of Education, Ms Penny Vinjevold will be sent to parents at each of our schools, encouraging them to make use of the programmes on offer during the holiday period.

    Details on each of these programmes are available at each of the schools, or can be obtained from the Safe Schools Centre at 0800 45 46 47, or the relevant district office.

    We simply cannot let this tournament distract us from our task at hand: to improve learner outcomes at all grade levels in the Western Cape.

    We do encourage learners to participate in the fun festivities organised around the tournament, but a healthy balance of work and play needs to be maintained throughout the holiday period.

    We must not forget that while the World Cup lasts for only five weeks, the futures of our learners will be determined by the education that they receive now, and beyond, the World Cup 2010.

    • Metro East 24
    • Metro South 17
    • Metro Central 21
    • Eden/Karoo 30
    • West Coast 8
    • Overberg 11
    • Winelands 9
    • Healthy lifestyle of learners.
    • Safety awareness and crime prevention
    • Participation in different cultural and sport activities as alternatives to crime and violence
    • Empowering learners with the knowledge, attitude and skills to combat violence -for example; leadership development, communication skills, conflict management skills, substance abuse awareness programs etc.
    • Appropriate reading materials and writing and calculating competitions.
    • Part of each day's programme will include a nutritious snack for participating learners.
    • The emphasis of the Safe Schools programme remains on consolidating the learning process, whilst also exposing learners to enrichment programmes and life skills.
    Media Enquiries: 

    Bronagh Casey
    Spokesperson
    Minister of Education, Donald Grant
    Western Cape
    Cell: 072 7241 422
    Tel: 021 467 2377