Source: Eastern Cape Department of Education
Title: SA: Motshekga: Address by the Minister of Basic Education, on the state of education in Eastern Cape schools, Eastern Cape
I welcome you all to this briefing!
Firstly let me acknowledge that my visit to this province along with my Deputy Minister Enver Surty, acting Director-General Gugu Ndebele, senior officials of the Department of Treasury and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has been useful in providing us with information on the steps already taken to confront the challenges facing this province.
We came here on a fact finding mission, to assess the state of education in the Eastern Cape, identify those that we can address immediately and pledge our support where it is needed. I met with the MEC Mandla Makupula and senior management of the provincial department this morning, and what we gather is that the state of education in the province can be turned around, if better systems are put in place.
Many of these challenges we discussed are not new. We have noted a clear distinction between challenges that are systemic and structural, and if not attended to immediately, pose a potential of crippling the entire system.
But let me be quick to point out that despite the challenges, I am encouraged by the cooperative spirit of school principals, many of whom worked under extremely difficult circumstances to achieve a remarkable increase of seven percent in the 2010 NCS results. But last year’s pass rate must and can be sustained. In order to do this, we must address these challenges that threaten to derail us from achieving our maximum potential in this province.
But how are we going to turn around the situation to ensure that we carry our core business: that of providing quality basic education to children in this province?. Indeed we have to address some of the critical matters now. For this reason, we gathered you here today, to announce very decisive interventions that we have agreed to put in place immediately.
I would also like to acknowledge and express appreciation for the support provided by the MEC for Education, the Superintendent General, the Office of the Premier, the Treasury department of the province as well as the Executive Council for their continued quest to find long-lasting solutions to challenges facing the education department in the province.
I now turn to the following matters that will receive our immediate attention:
The recent termination of contracts of temporary teachers has posed a serious challenge to teaching and learning. The provincial department has assured me that a process is in place to address this situation, such that our school get a minimum number of teachers. The province will present the report to the next EXCO by Wednesday for a final decision.
The cases involving displaced teachers, who have been occupying office jobs at the district office, have reported for work this week. I urge those still not back in schools to do so immediately to assist us to alleviate the pressure created by the termination of the temporary teachers.
The province still has over 300 mud schools, and has recently been affected by floods that ravaged the country. I am indeed relieved to announce that the province will provide 400 temporary classrooms to provide immediately relief. This is a preliminary measure over and above the national decision to replace all mud and inappropriate structures in the province, beginning in April this year.
I have appointed a team at national office to work full time on the Accelerated Infrastructure (ASIDI) along with Treasury, to ensure that we begin the process of addressing our infrastructure backlogs.
Except for learners in farm schools, the province suspended all scholar transport since the beginning of 2011 due mainly to lack of funds. This means in some rural outlying areas learners were unable to attend school. I am indeed pleased to announce that the province is ready to lift the suspension of scholar transport in certain categories of schools, especially in outlying rural schools.
The Eastern Cape offers school nutrition for learners in all quintiles. The policy caters for quintiles one to three primary schools, and has added quintile one and two in high schools.
I have agreed with the province to restart school nutrition with immediate effect to learners who qualify through the conditional grant. These will only be in quintile one, two and three.
Human Resource Development
Reports coming out of the province indicate that there are areas where we experience challenges. I have agreed with the province that we will identify additional capacity to assist the province.
Those are some of the interventions that together with the province and the office of the Premier will make with immediate effect.
I have met with senior managers of the province who have committed themselves to implement these interventions. This is proof that indeed, all of us want to see a turnaround in the performance of the Eastern Cape department of education.
I thank you