Tomorrow, thousands of learners across the Western Cape will be celebrating the end of the 2012 school year.
We would like to wish them, and their educators, a very happy, safe and well-deserved holiday.
I am proud of what we have all achieved this year. The department, districts and schools have all worked better together to achieve our goals in improving education in this province. Highlights include the successful implementation of Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) in Grades one, two, three and 10, the implementation of the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and a successful School Governing Body election process.
We have also had some major system improvements including the introduction of a new online e-recruitment system, the adoption of a new system for the filling of principals' posts and the development of a new electronic tool for improving infrastructure planning.
While we have seen many positive changes within the system in 2012, we have also had some challenging moments, such as being faced with the difficulty of finding land to build a new school in Grabouw and in ensuring that all our matric candidates had the opportunity to write their National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations during the recent farm strikes.
In summary, it has been a good, but tough, year and we are excited to see the results of both the 2012 NSC and the 2012 Systemic testing for Grade 3, 6 and 9. We believe that there will be improvements in both areas which are testimony to the hard work we have all put in this year.
In terms of 2013, the WCED has been working hard to ensure that it is prepared and ready for the first day of school next year.
Schools have been updating their SIPs systems so that we can monitor and assess school readiness and finalising their timetable. Schools have also been allocated teaching posts.
We are especially pleased with the steps taken to ensure that our learners have the required workbooks and textbooks. Schools have received their Grade four to six and 11 textbooks for the CAPS rollout next year, therefore, with the rollout of Grade one to three and 10 books last year, we have only the remaining Grades to attend to in the next school year. We would like to remind schools that they must ensure that Grades seven to nine learners have adequate textbooks for 2013 and that they should be ordered and paid for from their norms and standards or school fees.
I am very pleased to announce that six new schools, two Primary and four Secondary, are planned to open at the beginning of the 2013 academic year.
These schools include:
1. Sunningdale PS (Metro North)
This new brick and mortar school was completed recently as part of our infrastructure plan and is enrolling learners plan Grade R-3 next year. 207 learners have been admitted so far. (For enquiries please contact Info@sunningdaleprimary.com)
2. Concordia PS (Eden and Karoo)
This is a new temporary mobile school which will later receive a new brick and mortar structure as part of our 2013/14 to 2015/16 infrastructure plan. They have enrolled 920 learners in all grades from Grade one to seven. (For enquiries please contact the Eden Karroo District office on 044 382 2395)
3. Concordia HS (Eden and Karoo)
This is a new temporary mobile school which will later receive a new brick and mortar structure as part of our 2013/2014- 2015/2016 infrastructure plan. They have enrolled 1056 learners in all grades from Grade 8-12. (For enquiries please contact the Eden Karroo District office on 044 3822395)
4. Disa HS (Metro Central)
Disa HS is a new school situated on the YMCA site in Hout Bay. There are further plans to build a new brick and mortar structure as part of our 2013/2014- 2015/2016 infrastructure plan. The school has enrolled 260 learners for the 2013 school year in Grade 8 and Grade 9. (For enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
5. AZ Berman HS (Metro South)
This is a new temporary mobile school in Tafelsig which will later receive a new brick and mortar structure as part of our 2013/2014- 2015/2016 infrastructure plan. They have enrolled 380 learners in grades from Grade 8 and Grade 9. (For enquiries please contact 021 3744107)
6. Soneike HS (Metro East)
This is a new temporary mobile school in Kuilsriver which will later move into the Silversands HS building once their new school is completed in June 2013. They have enrolled 130 learners for the 2013 school year in Grade 8 and Grade 9. (For enquiries please contact 021 900 7100/ 7154)
I would like to appeal to all our parents to ensure that their children arrive at school prepared and on time for the new school year, which will begin on 16 January 2013.
In preparation for the new school year, we urge parents to note the following:
They should buy uniforms and stationery in December and should not wait for their January salaries to do so.
Parents should buy return tickets in December for trips to areas far away from Cape Town. The department encourages parents to look for travel concessions.
Children will be fed at schools that have nutrition programmes
Parents must plan ahead to pay school fees at schools that charge fees unless they intend applying for fee exemption.
By ensuring that their children are at school the first day of the new school year, we will be making education better, together.
In terms of the holiday period, the Western Cape Education Department's Safe Schools Division has arranged a number of holiday programmes at specific schools and sports complexes. Most of these programmes will take place between the 10 and 20 December.
Educational Programmes on offer include substance abuse, workshops on conflict and drug abuse and gangsterism.
Fun activities including swimming, board games, soccer and netball clinic, as well as arts and crafts and drama and dance classes.
Holiday programmes have helped to keep children off the street, keeping them safe and preoccupied. They also have, in recent years, reduced the incidence of vandalism at schools significantly.
It is important that communities are aware that our schools are vulnerable to burglary and vandalism during the holidays.
Safe Schools has arranged security patrols for 472 schools in selected areas during the December/January holiday.
However, schools are safest where local communities play an active role in helping to look after schools, by reporting suspicious behaviour and participating in neighbourhood watches.
Finally, I want to thank our learners for their hard work and parents for their support during the year.
Thank you to all our educators, district and head office staff for their support and dedication in 2012.
Have a good rest as we need to redouble our efforts working smarter in 2013.
I look forward to what we can achieve together.