Two Premiers won’t solve Northern Cape education crisis

Patricia De Lille

Executive Mayor, Cape Town

Below is a speech extract from an address by Patricia De Lille at the launch of the DA Northern Cape’s education campaign at Abanthu Hall, Galeshewe, Kimberley.

The Democratic Alliance today launches a campaign for education reform in the Northern Cape that we will take to all corners of this province in the run up to the 2014 elections.

The near collapse of the education system in the John Taole Gaetsewe district is a telling sign of the lack of leadership in provincial government. For months, Premier Grizelda Cjiekella sat idly by while children were prevented from going to school, in hindsight because of an internal ANC scrap about a local mayor.

Now it seems that many learners will not show up for the exams because government failed to properly consult with parents and learners on their ability to cope under the abnormal circumstances in towns like Olifantshoek and surrounding areas.

For how much longer are we going to have a situation where one Premier, Hazel Jenkins, sits on the side-lines with a full salary, while another Premier, Grizelda Cjiekella, acts as a proxy for John Block while the biggest education crisis in the province’s history unfolds.

You are paying for two Premiers, yet the Premier’s office is empty. I’m here to tell you today that in 2014 the DA is going to fill that office with one capable person.

And when we do, some of the key focuses of our education agenda that we will bring into government will be –

* The building of additional classrooms at high-performing schools to increase the capacity in sound educational environments * Introduce an online School Improvement Plan (SIPS) reporting system which will revolutionize the way textbooks, desks, chairs and other vital equipment are ordered * The establishment of specialist maths and science schools in the province to replace the ineffective Dinaledi schools modelEnsure that every learner receives a textbook for every core subject in their grade on time every year. We are successfully achieving this where we govern * Introduce a performance management system for school leadership to ensure proper accountability in our schools * These are just a handful of the education solutions that the DA has the capacity to rollout where we govern. A full list of policy proposals is available in the DA’s national plan for Growth and Jobs. The people of the Northern Cape can no longer sit back while this government continues to ignore the importance of our children’s futures.

In the coming weeks and months we will take these policies to the people to ensure that in 2014 they have a choice between two distinct directions for the provincial education system: the DA path of education for jobs, or the ANC path of dysfunctional schooling and unemployment.

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