By Debbie Schafer, Western Cape Minister of Education:
The 2015 school year will end for more than one million learners in the Western Cape tomorrow (Wednesday, 9 December).
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all learners, educators, school administration staff, officials and their families a very happy, safe and well-deserved holiday.
I would also like to appeal to communities to be aware that the schools in their communities are vulnerable to burglary and vandalism during the holidays.
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.
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 some of our high risk identified schools.
Schools are safest where local communities play an active role in helping to look after schools. We also ask every community member to help their schools by participating in neighbourhood watches and reporting any suspicious behaviour in and around our schools immediately to the police.
Schools will reopen on the 11th January 2016 for educators and on the 13th January 2016 for learners.
In 2016, teaching and learning will take place for 199 days. Learners are expected to be at school for the full 199 days in accordance with the National Learner Attendance Policy.
I would like to urge all parents who are travelling over the holiday period to ensure that their children are back in time and present on the first day of the school year.
In preparation for the new school year, we urge parents to note the following:
- To consider uniform and stationery expenses for the 2016 school year.
- Parents must plan ahead to pay school fees at schools that charge fees unless they intend applying for fee exemption, and qualify for same.
In closing, I would like to wish all our educators, learners and staff a happy and safe holiday. Thank you for your support and dedication throughout the year.
2015 has been a challenging year but one in which I believe that we managed to achieve great things against the odds.
I look forward to 2016 and what we as a department can achieve in education.