Mbombela — The Mpumalanga Education Department will deploy ward councillors and pastors to monitor the reopening of schools in the province this week.
Provincial department spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the public representatives will also welcome teachers, pupils and non-teaching staff to ensure that teaching and learning takes place on the first day of the 2013 school year.
"Admission of learners was done in 2012 and only critical cases which were not finalised last year will be handled this week. The department has urged all principals to work collaboratively with the parents and the public representatives who will visit their schools in the best interest of learners," said Zwane.
He added that the public representatives will also ensure that school nutrition will be provided to deserving pupils from the day of reopening.
Currently there are 835 444 pupils in 1 600 schools that are benefiting from the nutrition programme.
"Scholar transport is expected to run in all districts on the same day so that there is no learner that can be denied access to school. This programme is currently benefiting about 65 000 learners," he said.
Zwane said stationery was distributed to all schools during December 2012.
"Textbooks for the implementation of curriculum and assessment policy statement for Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11 were dispatched to all schools in December 2012.
"Principals are directed to ensure that these are distributed to learners on the day of school re-opening so that effective teaching and learning can commence without delay," he said.
The department is planning to revisit schools after 10 days from the reopening of schools to verify the actual numbers of pupils and the needs of individual schools.
"After compiling the tenth day statistics, a process to ensure that where there is a need for additional material will commence.
"This may be necessitated by the increase in the number of learners admitted in certain schools. Mobile classrooms will be provided to schools that experience shortages of classrooms as an interim measure to alleviate adverse overcrowding," added Zwane.
Provincial Education MEC Reginah Mhaule also welcomed the teachers, pupils and non-teaching staff back to the 2013 school year.
"Our view is that you all had a well-deserved break and we are looking forward to working with you to improve the delivery of education in the province. My wish is that every second, minute and hour must be used to empower our children academically so that their performance can improve at the end of the day," she said.
On Friday this week, Mhaule will visit Masilela Secondary School in Bushbuckridge to congratulate staff and pupils for being the most improved school following the release of the 2012 Grade 12 results.
This school moved from 30.9% in 2011 to 95.2% in 2012. Eighty of the 84 matric candidates from the school passed in 2012.
Meanwhile, the MEC will hold a meeting with students who have received government bursaries within the Ehlanzeni education district to discuss the challenges they face all in their respective institutions.
The meeting will be held at Rob Ferreira Secondary School in White River.