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Source: Western Cape Provincial Government
Title: Dugmore: Donation of calculators and school bags
Address by Western Cape MEC for Education Cameron Dugmore at the
donation of calculators event, Atlantis
Thank you Master of Ceremonies
I wish to acknowledge the following people:
Ron Swartz, SG of the Western Cape Education Department
Brian Schreuder, DDG: Education Planning and Development of the
Ndo Miti and Sindi Shayi, both Chief Directors and all other
officials of the WCED
Sir Rupert Gull, Senior Representative from Barclays Western
Mr Frank Petersen, General Manager: Retail Bank, ABSA Western Cape
Kobus van Wyk,
Ingrid Graham and the rest of the Khanya Team Councillors and
Community Leaders, Principals and teachers of the schools
Parents and members of the School Governing Bodies (SGBs)
Business leaders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
I think you will agree with me that education is fundamental in the
development of our country, our province and our communities. It is
a fundamental weapon in the fight against poverty and for creating
The donation of the calculators and school bags by the employees of
both ABSA and Barclays banks, is a significant signal of the
commitment and patriotism of caring fellow South Africans.
Our country has been able to achieve a lot in the last ten years,
thanks in no small measure to the gestures of many ordinary
citizens and corporate and business leaders. But we also
acknowledge that a lot more needs to be done. So, thank you to ABSA
and Barclays for taking the lead.
The vision of our provincial government is to build a Home for All.
To arrive at this vision, we have adopted an economic development
strategy - Ikapa Elihlumayo - to grow and share the Cape.
As one of the lead strategies, which underpin Ikapa Elihlumayo, we
as education have been tasked with the Human Capital Development
Strategy, with a focus on youth.
The other lead strategies are: the Micro Economic Development
Strategy led by MEC Tasneem Essop; the Social Capital Development
Strategy led by MEC Koleka Mqulwana and the Infrastructural
Development Strategy led by MEC Marius Fransman. The key values
that underpin the vision and mission of our Human Capital
Development Strategy are based fundamentally on our
Our strategy seeks to increase participation and success rates of
learners in the General Education and Training band; and Further
Education and Training (FET) in both schools and colleges and
increase the number of FET learners who qualify to enter higher
education institutions, especially for learners from poor
But we face some serious challenges in our duty to grow and share
the Cape. In fact, just last week we have been brutally reminded of
some of the challenges we face in providing the knowledge, skills,
values and attitudes to build the Western Cape as a Home for
The levels of numeracy and literacy among our learners in all
grades and the performance of our schools in mathematics and
science are important indicators of our reversal of and liberation
from the legacies of apartheid in education.
I have therefore made a decision that, if nothing else during my
term, turning the tide against the low levels of literacy and
numeracy, is going to be one of my five key priorities. All issues
in education are very important but reading, writing and counting,
in proper, safe facilities, are absolutely fundamental to quality
Numeracy and literacy are fundamental components of our curricula,
as well as our Human Capital Development Strategy in the Western
Cape. The curricula recognise that the development of high levels
of language use and numeracy are key to all learning.
The WCED has an ongoing programme to address the low levels of
numeracy and literacy. Results have shown that while there has been
a slight improvement, they still fall far short of what is
Whilst on the one hand we are making progress to varying degrees,
it is clear that we have to co-ordinate, monitor and evaluate more
effectively to make a real difference. And therefore we have set up
a high-level task team and introduced various strategies to improve
performance in numeracy and literacy.
I believe that the key ingredients to making a decisive
breakthrough in the levels of literacy and numeracy are Early
Childhood Development (ECD), mother-tongue based education, class
sizes and competently, qualified and highly motivated
In terms of our Human Capital Development Strategy, we are working
in a co-ordinated, integrated approach to expanding access to ECD
by all pre-schoolers in the province, especially in our poorest
communities, in conjunction with our colleagues and partners in
health, social services, the provincial and local government and
Whilst we have universal enrolment of children aged six to 15, not
all five year olds have access to Grade R. Our goal is to provide
quality Grade R schooling for all five year olds by 2010 and to
make it compulsory from 2014.
Various studies have shown a direct link between language and
performance and Professor Van der Berg's findings have also
indicated to this. I therefore think that we must launch a massive
advocacy campaign to make our parents aware of the need for their
children to have a solid foundation in their mother-tongue.
Next year we are looking at allocating the equivalent of about 100
posts to employ teacher assistants, to assist Foundation Phase
teachers in their efforts to improve numeracy and literacy results.
Funding for the 100 posts could potentially provide resources for
between 300 and 600 assistants.
And there is some debate about what the level of payments should be
and whether such assistants should be funded by the Department
directly, or via school governing bodies.
My view is that these assistants should be deployed to the poorest,
overcrowded schools, especially on farm schools where there are
multi-grade classrooms. We shall also be guided by the research
Besides addressing the poor literacy and numeracy levels, the other
priorities for me include
* School safety
* Infrastructure provisioning
* The implementation of the National Curriculum Statement in
* FET Colleges and
* The re-engineering and transformation of the Western Cape
President Thabo Mbeki has challenged us to grow the economy by six
percent, to halve unemployment in the next decade and fight
poverty. However, a key barrier to growing the economy is the lack
of the necessary human resources and skills.
Some of the biggest areas of growth in the job market in the next
few years are going to be in the fields of engineering, science,
information technology and accountancy. Therefore we need to
produce more learners taking the subjects of maths, science and
technology to move into these careers.
However, last year, in the whole of the country only five percent
of almost 500 000 candidates passed maths on the higher grade. In
the Western Cape alone, of the 4 268 Maths Higher Grade candidates,
only 1,478 were black. Even worse, only 305 African learners passed
Maths Higher Grade.
These figures, together with the low levels of literacy and
numeracy, makes one begin to understand why Sasol this year had to
import about 2000 engineers. And economists estimate that our
country will need at least 13 000 engineers a year, of which we
currently produce just above 3 000. I am sure the captains of
industry present here can confirm this.
Right now, say our economic experts, there is about half-a-million
vacancies in the industries of communications and information
technology, finance and accounting services and other professional
services. But it cannot be filled because we do not have enough
students who study mathematics, science or accountancy, who opt for
these career paths.
The International Soccer ruling body FIFA, has just inspected some
of our stadiums and the Premier has given the commitment that the
Athlone stadium will be upgraded extensively, as well as other
But the question is: do we have enough engineers and other skills
to be able to cope with this? Even here in the Western Cape, in the
Department of Transport and Public Works 74% of posts for engineers
And therefore, unless we are able to improve the quality of our
performance in mathematics, science and accountancy or seek
innovative ways of meeting these targets, our economy is not going
to grow at the targeted rate of 6% and we are going to have to rely
on imported skills for a very long time.
The Western Cape Education Department has already put in place
various initiatives designed to improve learner performance in
these subjects across the board in the Western Cape. The strategy
includes teacher training, materials development, diagnostic
testing and special interventions.
One such special intervention programme is the Centre for Science
and Technology (COSAT) in Khayelitsha, which shows that good
teaching and motivated learners can succeed in the poorest of
COSAT is one of only nine schools in the Western Cape in which all
candidates studied maths for the Senior Certificate examinations in
2004. The number of candidates at COSAT has grown significantly,
from 30 in 2003 to 53 in 2004. The school has achieved a 100% pass
rate in the matric exams over the past three years.
All 53 candidates opted to write maths on the higher grade last
year. Of these, 32 passed on the higher grade and 21 on the
standard grade. Thirty-two candidates passed physical science on
the higher grade and 12 on the standard grade.
These are outstanding results for any school. The challenge facing
us will be to replicate these results across the province in the
years to come. We have therefore taken a decision to increase the
number of Dinaledi schools in the Western Cape from 10 currently to
50 and will announce details at a launch event later.
I am also happy to say that, unlike what was the case last year
with the possible retrenchments of up to 2000 teachers, we will now
add 292 teaching posts, to meet new demands and to provide
additional support to poorer schools.
Some of the creative ways in which we want to use the extra posts,
include ensuring curriculum redress to support strategic
programmes, for example by allocating 50 posts to our Dinaledi
schools to improve Mathematics results.
In addition to the normal allocation, which a school qualifies for,
21 further posts will be allocated to other focus areas, to support
subjects in Arts and Culture, Engineering, Agriculture and Business
We are considering allocating 70 additional posts to our Education
Management and Development Centres (EMDCs) in each district, to
provide additional support to clusters of schools.
Educators holding these posts could include lead teachers for
subjects such as Mathematics or Science, education project
managers, itinerant isiXhosa teachers and experienced school
managers who could provide support for principals.
Our Khanya Technology in Education project has also identified more
than 100 schools where the Department is using information and
communication technology to support curriculum delivery in
mathematics. Early studies have shown that this approach is
contributing to improving results.
One example of a school benefiting from this intervention, is the
Atlantis Secondary School. I am told that learners use the
educational software package, Master Maths, for support in
Mathematics. Already it has made a difference.
I am particularly pleased to hear that, although up until 2002
Mathematics Higher Grade (HG) was not considered a priority at
Atlantis Secondary, more than 20 candidates are writing the final
Grade Twelve Mathematics HG examination 2005. This is a phenomenal
achievement in such a short period of time and can be attributed to
the effective support of our Khanya team.
Khanya strives to improve learner performances in Mathematics and
to enable more learners to enter for the study of Mathematics on
the higher grade so that they qualify for admission to university
study and fields from which they were previously excluded.
I want to challenge our Khanya Team and all the high schools in
Atlantis to plough even more of their energy and resources into
exploring the advantages they can derive from the programme and to
double the number of quality maths, science, and accountancy
outputs in the next three to four years.
But while all of these interventions are important, there are no
quick fixes. Our interventions have shown what can be done. Our
challenge is to replicate the small pockets of successes across the
If we want to expand and sustain our economy, we need to produce
even more learners passing maths, science and accountancy and
enrolling in the relevant courses.
The task of education provisioning and skills development requires
significant investment, both in terms of human and financial
capital. The challenges of improving the performances of our
schools and the implementation of the new curriculum, are huge and
Government needs partners if it wants to succeed.
The donation of these calculators therefore will enhance the
learning experience and the quality of education in the classroom,
which is an integral part of the answer to the President's call for
a six percent growth in the economy, to create more work and fight
Mobilising partnerships, friends and business acquaintances in
fighting poverty and creating work, is a key component of our Human
Capital Development Strategy, which is about social networks -
communities taking responsibility for and leadership in projects
that are designed to improve the conditions of the collective in
Socially responsible corporate citizens and the commitment of
business can contribute enormously to sustainable social and
economic development. The involvement of business in education,
training and skills development creates opportunities for business
to transfer skills and share ideas. These networks provide a
platform for business and government to talk and strategise
So once again, thanks very much for your sustained involvement and
commitment. I am told the schools will be the owners of the
calculators, which means more learners will be able to use it. This
is a valuable contribution to our overall efforts of building a
learning home for all.
Thank you very much.
Issued by: Office of the MEC for Education, Western Cape Provincial
25 October 2005