Back to school – Minister Grant visits Ysterplaat PS for joint Pedestrian Safety Programme

Minister of Education Donald Grant

Western Cape Government

I should like to welcome all our educators and learners back to school for the third term.

I hope all of our educators and learners had an enjoyable winter break and are now prepared and ready for the busy weeks ahead.

I am grateful to all our educators and learners who took part in educator training programmes and winter schools. All our programmes were reported as being well-attended which demonstrates the commitment of our educators and learners to improving their performance and skills.

I am pleased to announce that initial reports from our eight education districts show that the first day back at school was without any major problems.

This morning I visited Ysterplaat Primary School to join the Provincial Departments of Community Safety, Transport and Public Works and the City of Cape Town in a joint Pedestrian Safety Programme.

The visit follows the tragic death of an 11 year old learner at the school, Ester Nsenga-Banza, in May 2013 after a taxi driver failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing outside the school.

The programme was aimed at educating both drivers and learners on the importance of road safety. Passing cars were given information booklets and breathalysers by the Province’s Safely Home team, while learners attended an information session on road safety and awareness.

The school was also provided with reflective vests for every learner to wear while travelling both to and from school.

The pedestrian crossing for learners will also be upgraded in September from a yield pedestrian crossing to a signalised pedestrian crossing with a robot, signage and road markings.

I sincerely hope that these interventions will contribute to improved learner safety at this school.

The third term of the school year is always a busy one.

Priorities this term will include preparing for end-of-year exams, the Annual National Assessments, the WCED’s Grades 3, 6 and 9 tests and the National Senior Certificate exams.

The Annual National Assessment tests will be administered in September and will test the language and mathematics skills of all Grade 1-6 and Grade 9 learners.

We will also be focusing on our Class of 2013, who will be sitting down to write their “Mock” Matric exams in September.

We now have only 104 days to go before the beginning of the National Senior Certificate examinations and I encourage all our Grade 12 learners to make the most of the remaining days.

By now, our Grade 12s should all have received their June examination results, which will indicate how they are doing.

Learners should use this as a benchmark to determine which subjects need more attention in terms of studying or extra assistance. The “Mock” exams will then be an important indicator as to whether their efforts to improve results are working and where they should place more effort in the final weeks.

The Department is currently analysing the results of our schools, specifically our underperforming schools, to determine where we need to focus additional support and assistance.

Other Grade 12 programmes, such as the telematics and tutoring programmes, will continue throughout the third term.

Administratively, this term, schools will begin planning for the 2014 school year.

Schools will receive their planning calendars for 2014 and their educator post allocations.  They will also begin finalising learner enrolments.

On Thursday, all our schools will be celebrating the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela. We have encouraged our schools to sing Happy Birthday to our former President, and reflect on his legacy, particularly during this time of his illness.

I look forward to a peaceful, hardworking and successful third term.

As we say in the Western Cape Government – we can do everything Better Together – and I look forward to all our educators, learners, parents and WCED officials working harder. Together, as a team, we can improve education outcomes in this Province even further.