By Minister Debbie Schafer, Western Cape Minister of Education:
On Friday, learners and educators across the Western Cape will be celebrating the end of the third term and the start of the October “Spring” holidays.
While our schools are officially closed for the holidays, the work continues for many of our learners, educators and the Western Cape Government.
The Western Cape Education Department has put together a number of programmes to ensure that our learners have safe places to go during the holidays. These programmes aim to keep our youth positively engaged, entertained and safeguarded.
During the holidays there are a number of spring holiday programmes for Grade 12 learners, as well as various workshops and development programmes for our educators.
GRADE 12 SPRING SCHOOLS
Providing curriculum support to our Grade 12 learners is always a priority, particularly in schools where learners are struggling in specific subjects and subject areas.
During the upcoming holidays, the WCED has organised holiday tutoring programmes at various high schools across the Province called “Spring Schools”.
The “Spring Schools” aim to assist learners in subject areas that have been identified by the districts and schools as areas that need further support ahead of the 2015 National Senior Certificate, particularly in our underperforming schools.
With only 18 days to go, our matriculants need all the support they can get, specifically in subjects that they are struggling in.
One of our main objectives is to ensure that as many learners as possible pass their NSC, therefore this period is critical in ensuring that we identify weak subject areas and target support according to individual needs.
The “Spring Schools” offer learners the opportunity to question expert tutors in subject areas that they do not fully grasp. These tutors are selected by the WCED and are experts in their relevant fields. At other schools, curriculum advisors from the WCED are supporting and assisting individual school programmes.
The WCED will also provide additional resource materials to complement the lessons being presented.
The dates of each school’s programme differ. Some schools have offered programmes on specific days, while others, throughout the holiday period.
We do, however, encourage all our Grade 12 learners to make use of any available time to revise and learn. The WCED has made available matric support resources for candidates on the WCED website –
Candidates are also encouraged to make use of resources available on the new ePortal – http://wcedeportal.co.za/
HOLIDAY PROGRAMMES FOR LEARNERS
As far as possible, it is important that we keep our children safe and occupied during the school holiday period. Our Safe Schools holiday programmes and MOD Centres aim to provide a safe, fun and educational environment for learners during the day.
At our Safe Schools holiday programme, offerings include important topics such as substance abuse, HIV/Aids, sexual abuse and gender violence.
The WCED, together with various organisations and other Western Cape Government departments, will be offering workshops at various schools on conflict and drug abuse, peer pressure, leadership and communications courses, as well as debating and reading sessions.
Fun and physical activities include theory and practical sessions on first aid, kayaking and rock climbing, hiking and swimming, as well as general team building activities.
For more information on the Safe Schools Holiday Programme, please contact the Safe Schools call centre on 0800 45 46 47.
Most of our MOD centres will also remain functional during the school holidays and in instances where centres are grouped together under one school, learners will be informed. The centres will be open between 09:00 and 14:00 from Monday to Fridays, in place of the normal schooling hours.
Activities on offer at the schools will include: the different sport codes, art and culture activities and indigenous games.
Learners are encouraged to attend the Western Cape Government MOD centres during the holiday. Learners will not be required to attend MOD centres at their respective schools. They are more than welcome to attend MOD centres nearest to their homes.
This opportunity will allow learners in our province to keep safe, active and learning during this time.
TEACHER DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING
This holiday, courses will be on offer for educators at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute to help develop our educators teaching and leadership skills.
The Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute is an in-service Teacher Training Unit of the WCED.
This spring holiday, the WCED IS offering two interventions, namely:
- School Management Team – follow-up course running from 06 – 09 October 2015
- Languages Solutions Conference – running from 6 and 7 October 2015
The programmes take place during the school holiday period so as to not disrupt teaching and learning during the school term.
School Safety during the holiday period is always a concern.
In order to protect our schools, as far as possible, from burglary and vandalism over the holiday period, the WCED’s Safe Schools directorate has arranged increased security at identified schools.
Over 400 schools will receive either 12 or 24 hour security or will benefit from cluster patrols this spring holiday. The WCED is also working with various agencies to mobilise community support for schools.
We ask every community member to help their schools by reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools immediately to the police. The best protected schools are those where parents and local communities help to look after schools.
In conclusion, I would like to wish everyone a happy, safe and productive holiday.
For our Grade 12’s, nothing is ever achieved without hard work, and I encourage you to use this time wisely. I have every confidence that you will make yourselves and the Western Cape proud.