Minister Grant wishes all learners and educators a happy and safe holiday

Minister of Education Donald Grant

Western Cape Government

The end of the formal 2013 school year is here for learners.

I find this quite hard to believe – this year has certainly flown by.

Today, thousands of learners across the Western Cape will be celebrating the end of the 2013 school year and the start of their summer holidays.

Educators and school staff will remain at school until the 6th of December to finalise any outstanding administration issues and preparations for the 2014 school year.

We should like to wish them, and all our learners, a very happy, safe and well-deserved holiday.

While our educators and learners enjoy their time off, the WCED will continue to be hard at work.

In the next six weeks, the WCED will be putting the final touches to our readiness for the 2014 school year.

So far, our readiness plans have been a success:

  • All textbooks in Grade 7-9 and Grade 12, in line with the final rollout of CAPS, have been delivered.
  • All schools have received workbooks for Grades 1 – 6. A few reported shortages are currently being dealt with by the DBE.
  • Arrangements for desks and chairs for learners in 2014 have been made.
  • Learner enrolment for 2014 has been finalised in most schools. The WCED are currently assisting parents who have not yet enrolled their children.
  • Teacher appointments have been finalised and timetables will be in place by the time schools close on 6 December.

Our main focus during the holiday period will be on school infrastructure and maintenance.

The WCED has arranged for 130 schools to receive a “maintenance makeover” during the holiday period. There will also be “volunteer holiday teams” working at schools to ensure that everything is in place for the start of the 2014 school year. Ie. that windows and doors have been mended; and that ablution and playground facilities are spick and span.

The WCED has also arranged a number of holiday programmes at specific schools and sports complexes.

Most of these programmes will take place between the 5th and the 20th of December.

Educational Programmes on offer include workshops on dealing with substance abuse, conflict management and gangsterism. There are also programmes on children and woman’s’ rights.

Fun activities including baseball, swimming, board games, soccer and netball clinics, as well as arts and crafts and drama and dance classes.

Holiday programmes, such as these, have helped to keep children off the street, keeping them safe and preoccupied. They also have, in recent years, reduced the incidence of vandalism at schools significantly.

Last year, 24 schools were vandalised over the holiday period.

It is important that communities are aware that our schools are vulnerable to burglary and vandalism during the holidays and we ask that communities help us protect our schools.

Safe Schools has arranged security patrols in selected areas during the December/January holiday. However, schools are safest where local communities play an active role in helping to look after schools, by reporting suspicious behaviour and participating in neighbourhood watches.

Our aim is to come back to clean and neat schools that have been safe and secure.

Next year, we look forward to the release of the 2013 NSC on the 7th of January.

We also look forward to the release of the 2013 Grade 3, 6 and 9 systemic results. In both areas we have continued to progress and we hope to see further improvements this year.

I want to thank our learners for their hard work throughout this year and I am grateful for the support their parents have provided.

I should like to appeal to all our parents to ensure that their children arrive at school prepared and on time for the new school year, which will begin on the 15th of January 2014.

In preparation for the new school year, we urge parents to note the following:

  • They should buy uniforms and stationery in good time.
  • Parents should buy return tickets in December for trips to areas far away from their homes.
  • Parents must plan ahead to pay school fees at schools that charge fees unless they intend applying for fee exemption.

By ensuring that our children are at school the first day of the new school year, we will be making education better, together.

I should also like to thank our educators, school administration staff, and district and head office staff for their support and dedication in 2013.

It is now time to have a good rest, relax and re-vitalise. I have no doubt that next year will present even greater opportunities for our learners as we continue to improve our schools.