Minister of Education Donald Grant
After a successful second school term, thousands of learners and educators from across the province will today begin their winter school holidays.
While our learners and educators look forward to a well-deserved break, many of our schools will be buzzing with numerous holiday activities and extra tuition for learners, as well as, training programmes for thousands of educators.
The long winter holidays provide the WCED with an opportunity to train over 12 000 educators outside of school hours in important areas such as language and mathematics and CAPS.
It also allows our schools the opportunity to provide learners with extra tuition, especially for Grade 12s ahead of their National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
The following activities and programmes will be available at selected schools and venues this winter holidays:
Teacher development and training
Ongoing professional development and training of our educators is a priority for this government.
Around 12 700 educators will be attending training sessions across the province during the mid-year holiday.
We are especially determined to ensure that as many of our educators receive the relevant support and training in terms of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) which will be implemented in Grades 7-9 and 12 in 2014.
9 000 educators will receive training to prepare for final phase of the CAPS implementation next year.
The WCED is also providing language and mathematics training for Foundation Phase teachers in the June holidays.
Approximately 1 800 educators have registered for language training and over 1 900 for numeracy training.
In addition to the CAPS and literacy and numeracy training, various seminars and conferences will be held at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute.
The seminars include a 3 day course on “Aspiring school leaders” which will give our aspiring leaders a better understanding on the experiences and skills required for promotion posts, the legal framework that governs educators in promotion posts, as well as, an awareness of the challenges and the opportunities that come with leadership.
A 3 day “Aspiring Principals” course will also be held for aspiring principals. This seminar will give the recipients an opportunity to understand the professional responsibilities of a principal’s post, and the skills and competencies required by a principal.
A 5-day course will also be offered to women that aspire to be school managers and leaders. This course aims to facilitate and enhance the leadership development of women within the WCED and to develop their leadership skills.
From the 24th of June to the 5th of July 2013, there will also be a “Writing Project” aimed at improving educators’ creative writing skills.
We are very pleased to see so much support for these programmes and we thank our educators for giving up their well-deserved holiday time to improve their teaching skills.
Safe schools programmes:
In order to keep our children safe and occupied during the school holidays, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has organized various educational programmes that will benefit learners from over 110 schools. These will be launched on the 24th June 2013 across all eight education districts in the Province.
A number of stakeholders will assist us with the programme including various government departments, municipalities, SAPS, and local NGOs.
The educational programmes on offer will cover important topics such as substance abuse, HIV/Aids and teenage pregnancy seminars, workshops on conflict, gangsterism, bullying, gender based violence and drug abuse, as well as, leadership and motivational programmes.
For our active learners, various sports activities have been arranged and arts and crafts classes will also be available at some of the venues.
One of the more exciting of the Safe School holiday initiatives is a 10 day programme, running from 9h00 to 14h00, with learners in the West Coast district. Around 80 learners from 5 schools will be taking part in the programme.
The learners have been selected based on their variable school attendance.
The aim of the programme is to promote school attendance, to educate the learners about the criminal justice system and to provide learners with a “first-hand view” of the correctional system and prison life.
The learners will be visiting the Malmesbury police station where they will see how a case is opened. They will then be briefed at the Magistrate Court on how the court operates and be educated on the Criminal Procedures Act. They will attend court cases and will document court procedures and processes. Finally, they will be taken to both Malmesbury Medium A and B prisons where they will be shown what it is like live as an inmate in prison once sentenced by the court.
At the end of the programme, an evaluation session will be conducted where learners will give feedback to the co-ordinators on what they had learnt and experienced.
This a co-ordinated programme between SAPS, the Department of Social Development, Correctional Services, the Department of Justice, the Swartland Municipality and the WCED.
Grade 12 programme:
The Class of 2013 have under 130 days before they sit down to write the 2013 NSC.
In order to help improve individual learner results in certain subjects, many of our high schools have organised holiday study programmes. These “winter schools” aim to assist learners in high enrolment subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Geography, Life Sciences, Accounting and Economics.
216 high schools will be participating in “winter school” programmes this year. 158 of these will be providing tuition at their school for their learners while 58 schools will be participating in joint “study camps” mainly in the Eden and Karoo District. 11 “study camps” have been arranged during this period.
Many of the programmes on offer will be taught by tutors selected by the WCED.
In some schools, curriculum advisors will be supporting and assisting individual school programmes. Additional resource materials have been developed to complement the lessons being presented.
The dates of each school programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period.
While holidays are a time of relaxation and fun, it is also an opportunity for continued learning.
We would like to appeal to parents to assist their children in maintaining their habits of learning in the holiday period and to ensure that their children continue to practise important skills such as reading, writing and calculating every day.
Principals and their teachers can provide guidance to parents on what they can do, or parents can visit the WCED’s website – http://wced.pgwc.gov.za/documents/ParentTips-LitNum/reading-guide.html – for ideas on updated reading lists and on building their reading and calculating skills at home.
For our older learners, especially our Grade 11 and 12s, this is a perfect opportunity to study further, especially in areas and subjects where their results are not satisfactory. Learners would have received their June exam results which will indicate their subject results and performance levels.
Learners can access exemplar exam papers on our website – http://wced.pgwc.gov.za/home/service/qp_index.html – for their own use. We especially encourage Grade 12 learners to use this time wisely as a “study period” for their NSC. They can find tips on how to create an effective study timetable in their “Tips for Success” booklet which was distributed to all schools earlier this year.
School safety during school holidays is always a concern for the WCED.
After the June/July 2012 holiday period, 31 schools reported cases of burglary and vandalism to the WCED. While only one of these cases was classified as major, the WCED would like to ensure that our schools remain as safe as possible during this period.
Money spent on repairs or the replacement of equipment could be spent on other items that could improve the quality of our schools or the learning environment.
In order to protect our schools from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has arranged for increased security at over 400 selected schools.
Schools will receive either 24 hour security or will benefit from cluster patrols.
We remind all schools that have alarm systems to test their systems to ensure that they are in working order before they close their schools.
We also ask all community members to help their schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools immediately to the police.
I should like to thank all our schools for the support the WCED has received in the first half of this school year.
The WCED looks forward to assessing the June examination and test results of each of our schools in the coming weeks to see if schools are reaching their mid-year targets.
We will place special attention on our 26 underperforming high schools and 96 primary schools to see whether our additional interventions are achieving success and to see what further support should be provided.
I should like to wish all our educators, principals, staff and learners a happy and safe holiday.
We look forward to what we can achieve in the latter part of 2013!