DA commends the Western Cape Education Department on quality performance

Basil Kivedo MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Education

The DA commends the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) on their performance during the 2013/2014 financial year. On Friday, 17 October 2014, the Standing Committee and the WCED discussed the department’s 2013/2014 Annual Report.

The department’s strategic goals are:

  • to improve language and mathematics in primary schools;
  • to improve the number and quality of passes in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) and
  • to reduce the number of underperforming schools in the Western Cape.

In 2013/2014, the WCED has made significant progress in attaining these goals as there was an improvement in the number and especially the quality of passes in the NSC. Once the re-marks and supplementary results had been factored in, a further 651 learners passed the NSC, increasing the percentage pass rate from the initial 85.1% to 86.5%.

Setting the Western Cape apart from other provinces, the WCED administers independently set Grade 3, 6 and 9 tests in language and mathematics. This reaffirms that DA led government departments are invested in the quality of their results.

Systemic tests, such as the Annual National Assessments are administered, tested and marked by competent external service providers in the Western Cape. This enhances the credibility of the tests and makes the WCED aware of where relevant assistance needs to be directed. As such, the quality of language and mathematical education in primary schools was significantly improved.

In addition to attaining the strategic goal to reduce the number of underperforming schools in the Western Cape, the WCED launched the School Resource Officer pilot which aims to build safer school environments. In the 2013/2014 financial year this pilot accounted for the construction and/or planning of 158 new schools and 33 replacement schools and 108 maintenance projects.

Due to a number of factors, such as communities disrupting construction sites, there were unfortunate delays in delivering four schools scheduled for completion for the year under review. However, the DA will continue to create an open opportunity society for all in ensuring that the WCED provides quality education to all learners in the province through overall planning for and management of the education system.

The WCED also focussed on professional development through various interventions. One of these was to increase the number of qualified maths and science teachers, the WCED provided 96 pre-service bursaries to potential teachers during 2013/2014 as follows:

  • Foundation Phase: 68
  • Intermediate Phase: 2
  • Further Education Training: 15
  • Bachelor of Science: 11

The DA is pleased with the performance of the WCED for the 2013/2014 financial year, especially since they are more concerned with providing quality education to our learners and not simply chasing numbers. We look forward to working Better Together with the WCED in the current financial year and beyond.