Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Education spokesman

Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy must conduct an audit to establish the cause for poor attendance at the winter school programme intended to improve learner performance.

The DA found low attendance at Soweto schools last week on visits to assess the implementation of the R156 million Secondary Schools Intervention Programme (SSIP). It is disappointing that where the programme is needed most, attendance is very low.

Site managers and teachers are similarly disappointed by the programme’s poor attendance. They argue that learners are not taking this project seriously at the schools visited by the DA, including Lamula Jubilee Secondary in Meadowlands, Siyabonga Secondary in Bramfischer, PJ Simelane in Dobsonville, Mafori Mphahlele in Molapo Emshukantambo Secondary and Pimville Secondary in Pimville.

The 67.7% matric pass rate for Soweto schools in 2011 was far below the provincial target of 80%. The state of Soweto education must receive priority attention to ensure that teachers and learners are adequately equipped and inspired to tackle poor performance. The MEC must ensure that her bold declaration at the Soweto Education Summit last week urging learners to “take charge of their future” becomes a reality. Her department must investigate the SSIP to ensure that it benefits those who need it the most. The Gauteng Education department must communicate with parents to enlist their support in motivating learners to attend the programme.

We will continue our visits to schools in Gauteng this week to assess the broader implementation and performance of the SSIP project and identify areas of concern and potential for improvement.

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