BACK TO SCHOOL 2019 Dept ‘sat­is­fied’ with schools

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

THE NORTH­ERN Cape De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (NCDOE) said yes­ter­day it was “sat­is­fied” with the state of readi­ness of all schools in the Prov­ince for the 2019 school aca­demic year.

This comes af­ter thou­sands of pupils across the North­ern Cape yes­ter­day re­turned to class for the first day of school for 2019.

How­ever, it was not all smooth sail­ing, with at least two schools ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems.

NCDOE spokesper­son, Le­huma Ntu­ane, yes­ter­day said that the de­part­ment was fi­nal­is­ing out­stand­ing pupil place­ments and had se­cured place­ment for 323 pupils in both Grades 1 and 8.

“We must in­di­cate that since the schools re­opened, we have re­ceived more than a hun­dred new late ap­pli­ca­tions, which is a clear in­di­ca­tion that par­ents are not ful­fill­ing their pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity. The Frances Baard Dis­trict of­fice has the high­est en­rol­ment of pupils and there­fore we have pri­ori­tised these ad­mis­sions.

“We have in­di­cated from the on­set that we won’t be able to guar­an­tee par­ents a school of pref­er­ence. Our dis­trict of­fices have al­ready started to con­tact par­ents to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive place­ment for pupils.

“We fur­ther en­cour­age par­ents to work with us to speed­ily re­solve the place­ment of pupils. We can­not turn a blind eye to these ap­pli­cants, as ed­u­ca­tion is a con­sti­tu­tional right,” Ntu­ane said.

He added that the de­part­ment was busy con­duct­ing an “in-depth anal­y­sis” on the out­comes of the NSC Ex­am­i­na­tion re­sults to de­velop an im­prove­ment plan for 32 un­der­per­form­ing schools in the Prov­ince.

“The im­prove­ment plan will be school spe­cific as there is no one-siz­e­fits-all ap­proach to ad­dress un­der­per­form­ing. We call on all school­ing com­mu­ni­ties and the broader so­ci­ety to work with us to en­sure qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion in all our schools.

“We must recom­mit our­selves to the stren­u­ous task ahead of us in the 2019 school aca­demic year,” he stated.

Mean­while school­ing at the Bore­setse Se­condary School in Barkly West, the se­cond worst per­form­ing school in the North­ern Cape dur­ing the 2018 Na­tional Se­nior Cer­tifi­cate Ex­am­i­na­tions, with a ma­tric pass rate of only 40.7 per­cent, yes­ter­day got off to a rocky start.

Hun­dreds of pupils from about 15 classes were sent home shortly af­ter ar­riv­ing for their first school day of 2019, as ren­o­va­tions to the school build­ing have still not been com­pleted.

Livid par­ents yes­ter­day in­di­cated that they were promised that ren­o­va­tions, that com­menced in 2018, would be com­pleted by the start of the first day of school.

How­ever, this was not the case yes­ter­day and hun­dreds of pupils were sent home and told that they should re­turn on Mon­day, when ren­o­va­tions are ex­pected to be fin­ished.

One fa­ther said that los­ing even one day of school was “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able”, es­pe­cially in the se­cond worst per­form­ing school in the Prov­ince.

“We were given the guar­an­tee that the ren­o­va­tions to the school would be com­pleted but now the con­trac­tor seems to be be­hind sched­ule and our chil­dren must suf­fer,” he said.

He stated that pupils from about 15 classes were sent home and added that there were fears for the safety of the pupils who were al­lowed to stay.

At a school Jan Kem­p­dorp it was re­ported that dis­grun­tled par­ents threat­ened to close the school if the prin­ci­pal, who al­legedly called some pupils the K word dur­ing 2018, was not re­moved.

Ten­sions ap­par­ently ran high as dozens of par­ents yes­ter­day gath­ered at the school and de­manded that the prin­ci­pal be re­moved.

The de­part­ment, how­ever, stated that teach­ing at the school had com­menced as nor­mal yes­ter­day.

“The MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion, Martha Bartlett, vis­ited the school as part of her mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme.

She com­mit­ted to meet with the SGB, SMT and the par­ents next week Tues­day to at­tend to the chal­lenges which have cre­ated ten­sion at the school,” Ntu­ane said.

IT’S ALL GOOD:

Grade 1 pupils from Staat­spres­i­dent Swart Pri­mary School yes­ter­day at the start of their school ca­reers.

FIRST DAY: Grade 1 pupils from Du Toitspan Pri­mary School. Pic­tures: Danie van der Lith

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