Premier Lends Support to Education MEC's Initiatives | Western Cape Government



Premier Lends Support to Education MEC's Initiatives

13 March 2005
Premier Ebrahim Rasool is to lend a hand of support to the initiatives of Education MEC Cameron Dugmore, in building a Learning Home for All Children.

This morning (Monday 14 March) the Premier visited the Ned Doman High School in Athlone, where 15-year-old Marewaan Blankenberg was stabbed to death. The Premier and MEC Dugmore addressed a special assembly of learners and teachers in the morning, whereafter Minister Dugmore met with the principal and staff.

The Premier announced that he has appointed a team headed by retired teacher Eddie Snyders, to try and find answers as to why the incident occurred, and advise him on ways of how to promote and improve diversity management in our schools.

In his message to the learners, Premier Rasool called on the learners to apply their minds to their school work, and not bring weapons onto the school premises.

He called on the learners to make a concerted effort to get to know each other, and learn about each other's language, culture and religion. Diversity should be something to be excited about, and not being seen as a threat, said the Premier.

He thanked Mr Riedewaan Blankenberg, father of Marewaan, for calling on learners and the friends of Marewaan, not to retaliate. Mr Blankenberg said he did not wish to see the same thing happening to any other learner, as it will not bring his son back.

MEC Dugmore called on all communities, school governing bodies, learner representative councils and teacher unions to actively assist in government's efforts in creating a safer learning environment.

The visit to the Ned Doman High School this morning, is part of several initiatives by the Education MEC involving the Premier, to actively promote racial tolerance and build diversity management.

On Wednesday 16 March, MEC Dugmore will convene a meeting of about 250 members of the 53 high school Learner Representative Councils in the Central Education and Management District. The summit with the learners will be from 15h00 - 18h00 at the Rhodes High School in Mowbray.

MEC Dugmore will use the opportunity to consult with the learners on how best to promote respect, discipline and improve race relations and diversity.

Recommendations from the learners will form part of a comprehensive action plan, in partnership with school governing bodies and teacher unions. The action plan will be implemented and evaluated on a continuous basis. Similar meetings will be arranged in all other education districts.

The Premier is also scheduled to address a special assembly of all 1,471 school principals in the Western Cape. The meeting, which originally was going to take place this week, has now been scheduled for early in the next school term.

MEC Dugmore has welcomed the Premier's intentions to train one teacher from every school in conflict and diversity management. The Education Department is also finalising a project proposal to recruit and train about 2,000 safety resource officers, who will be posted to schools at risk.

The above initiatives are in addition to steps already in an advanced stage, which include the following:

  • A detailed plan to improve school infrastructure to ensure a safer environment
  • A coordinated procurement of security companies who currently provide services to individual schools
  • Petitioning the Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula in terms of the Firearms Act to declare public state schools as gun free zones
  • A safety summit, in partnership with the Community Safety Department, involving all 65 schools in Khayelitsha early in the new quarter. This could be extended to other regions and affected communities.
For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi: 082 550 3938
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