The 2013 school year has started smoothly, with no major problems being reported in all the schools in inland provinces. The Department of Basic Education has welcomed about 1 million learners into the system this year, with learning having kicked off as planned on 9 January when the school calendar commenced in five of the 9 provinces.
The availability of school resources, i.e. textbooks, workbooks, school furniture and stationery; in public schools is an indication that all schools are ready to begin with learning and teaching.
All the schools in Gauteng, Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga and North West officially opened their classrooms on 9 January.
The Department of Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga accompanied the Deputy President, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe for a visit to Pholosho Primary School in Alexandra; this with the aim of evaluating school readiness for 2013.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has, since September 2012, been monitoring the delivery of learning material to all schools across the country. So far, the majority of schools have received the necessary resources.
Mrs Margaret Thage, School Principal at Pholosho, also acknowledged that her school has received the proper resources needed to support learning and teaching in this academic year. The Department of Social Development contributed 200 school uniforms to Pholosho Primary School.
Minister Motshekga continued to attend the launch of Nedbank's Back to School Initiative at N'WaMhinga Primary school, in Attridgeville. N'WaMhinga Primary is one of the many schools that will receive a donation of school supplies provided by Nedbank; as part of their Corporate Social Investment programme. Through this initiative, Nedbank donated 100 school bags, school stationery, and school uniforms for disadvantaged learners in the area.
In her address, Minister Motshekga encouraged the School Governing Body (SGB) to play a pivotal part in ensuring that teaching occurs when it is supposed to, adding that the broader community of parents should also get involved in monitoring their children's progress in class and also ensure that there is adequate teaching in the school.
"With the help of Nedbank there is huge improvement in the school," said the SGB chairperson, Mr Mothelo. "This initiative by Nedbank has given the school an opportunity to improve our learners' performance", Mr Mothelo continued.
"The future depends on you, the choice to achieve what you want in life starts today," Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said in his address to learners In Alexandra. The Deputy President told learners to dedicate a lot of their time to learning; ensuring that they perform better at the end of the year. He stated that learning and teaching remain the core business of the schooling system and should not be disrupted.
Although much attention is placed on the availability of learning material in schools, parents' involvement in education can be improved upon.
Minister Motshekga explained that the best and only technique to improve learners' numeracy in class is thorough teaching in Maths. She also advised teachers to encourage learners to read a lot of novels so that they can improve the national pass rate in languages.
The Minister expressed her gratitude to the DBE partners, Nedbank, for their contribution and pleaded with parents, teachers and learners to work together towards achieving better results. The improvement of quality education in the country is not the responsibility of the department alone. Minister Motshekga called up on all other sponsors to come forth to shape a better future for all children of South Africa.
Issued by: Department of Basic Education