‘All pupils will have a place’

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

WITH thou­sands of pupils through­out the city and the North­ern Cape set to re­turn to school for the start of the 2019 aca­demic year to­mor­row, the North­ern Cape Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion was yes­ter­day hard at work fi­nal­is­ing the out­stand­ing place­ment of pupils.

Ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment spokesper­son, Le­huma Ntu­ane, said yes­ter­day that the Of­fice of the MEC had re­ceived a to­tal of 575 ap­peals and par­ents were in­formed about the out­comes in De­cem­ber last year.

“Most of the ap­peals were not sub­mit­ted within the stip­u­lated seven-day pe­riod af­ter par­ents re­ceived their re­jec­tion let­ters from schools in Oc­to­ber.”

He said the MEC also re­ceived close to 200 ap­peals which were sub­mit­ted af­ter Novem­ber 25.

“We in­di­cated to par­ents from the on­set that we would not be able to guar­an­tee a school of pref­er­ence due to the avail­able space at cer­tain schools. We have com­mit­ted our­selves to fi­nal­is­ing most, if not all, pupil place­ments be­fore the schools open to­mor­row.”

Ntu­ane said the depart­ment’s dis­trict of­fi­cers had al­ready started con­tact­ing par­ents to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive place­ment to pupils.

“We fur­ther en­cour­age par­ents to work with us to speed­ily re­solve the place­ment of pupils.”

He said an up­date on the pupil ad­mis­sion statis­tics would be pro­vided to­mor­row as the depart­ment nor­mally re­ceived new pupil ad­mis­sions from par­ents who had never ap­plied. “We can­not turn a blind eye to these ap­pli­cants, as ed­u­ca­tion is a con­sti­tu­tional right.”

Re­gard­ing Learn­ing and Teach­ing Sup­port Ma­te­rial (LTSM), Ntu­ane said the depart­ment re­garded these an in­te­gral and vi­tal part of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. “The pro­vi­sion­ing of text­books for ev­ery pupil in the school­ing sys­tem is a pri­or­ity. The NCDOE has en­sured that text­book pro­vi­sion­ing since the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Cur­ricu­lum As­sess­ment Pol­icy State­ments (CAPS) is fi­nalised be­fore start­ing the new cy­cle of pro­cure­ment an­nu­ally. This im­plies that all schools re­ceived their text­books as per re­spec­tive or­ders placed.”

He added that the key fo­cus ar­eas in the mon­i­tor­ing of LTSM pro­vi­sion­ing were on the dis­tri­bu­tion of work­books and text­books as well as sta­tionery. It also in­cluded the avail­abil­ity of an LTSM in­ven­tory with re­gards to Braille ma­te­ri­als and other as­sis­tive de­vices in spe­cial schools as well as the avail­abil­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Text­book Re­trieval Poli­cies.

“In terms of the CAPS roll out plan, CAPS 2 im­ple­men­ta­tion was com­pleted in 2017 for 2018. The fo­cus for 2018 was to close univer­sal cover­age gaps in terms of LTMS pro­vi­sion­ing.”

Ntu­ane said schools placed or­ders in April 2018 for grades 7 and 8 home lan­guage nov­els and top ups (Grades 4 to 12) to the value of R14 608 557.

“Pub­lish­ers started de­liv­ery on Septem­ber 23 2018 to the de­liv­ery agent, the South African Post Of­fice (SAPO) ware­house. De­liv­ery of text­books from pub­lish­ers is at 99%, with only 67 books out­stand­ing from three pub­lish­ers.”

He stated that de­liv­ery to schools com­menced in Novem­ber last year. On De­cem­ber 14 it was at 88.38%, with only 46 schools out­stand­ing and these will re­ceive their books this week.

“One hun­dred per­cent de­liv­ery is ex­pected by Fri­day this week.”

He stated fur­ther that all 533 pub­lic or­di­nary schools, 11 spe­cial schools and 12 full ser­vice schools had been is­sued with their fi­nal ed­u­ca­tor staff es­tab­lish­ments for the 2019 aca­demic year.

“The per­cent­age of pub­lic or­di­nary, spe­cial and full ser­vice schools that will re­ceive the same or more posts for 2019 is 439 (80,7%), which is an 8,8% in­crease from the 401 schools in 2018. Schools are al­lo­cated ed­u­ca­tor posts based on the num­ber of pupils in the school for that par­tic­u­lar year on a ra­tio of 1:32 in pub­lic or­di­nary schools, while the ra­tio in spe­cial schools is 1:12.”

A break­down of the statis­tics is as fol­lows: Schools that will re­ceive the same num­ber of posts is 288 (53%), those gain­ing posts is 151 (28%) and those los­ing posts is 105 (19%).

Ntu­ane said fur­ther that all schools in the North­ern Cape have ac­cess to wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and elec­tric­ity.

“Nu­mer­ous or­ders have been is­sued for the pro­vi­sion­ing of fur­ni­ture to schools that re­ceived new in­fra­struc­ture. The depart­ment de­liv­ered a to­tal of 836 chairs and 957 desks for 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year.”

He said that given the an­tic­i­pated growth in pupils num­bers, the depart­ment was also mov­ing mo­bile class­rooms to strate­gic ar­eas to ad­dress the over­crowd­ing in some schools.

“We have com­pleted main­te­nance projects in 16 schools and in 23 schools the projects will be com­pleted by first quar­ter of 2019.”

Dur­ing the first quar­ter of 2019, four new pri­mary schools (Karos, Steynville, Wrenchville and Green­point) will be opened, as well as two hos­tels in Bankhara Bo­du­long and Lesedi.

“Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, Mem­bers of the NC Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil, Mem­bers of the Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces, Mem­bers of the Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­ture, May­ors and Coun­cil­lors have been de­ployed to var­i­ous schools across the Prov­ince to­mor­row to mon­i­tor ad­mis­sions and registrations; school man­age­ment plan­ning; teacher pro­vi­sion­ing; learn­ing and teach­ing re­sources; and ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture.

PRE­PAR­ING: El­iz­a­beth Con­radie Grade 4 pupil, Jamienca Botha, and Han­dre Botha a Grade 8 pupil who will be at­tend­ing Land­boudal can’t wait to re­turn to school.

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