Eastern Cape schools open for new academic year

JANUARY 21, 2015

Thousands of learners across the Eastern Cape began a new school year on Wednesday following a long festive holiday. Most of the pupils have already arrived at schools across the Nelson Mandela Bay as the school day began.

Parents besides school fees – also had to contend with the price of uniforms. The Competition Commission said it received several complaints from parents about the exorbitant costs of school uniforms.

As part of a probe into the issue, the commission has called a meeting with several provincial education departments to discuss the matter.

“We are concerned by this and we are looking into it. Parents must have a choice. They shouldn’t be forced to buy. The issues of quality can be discussed and agreed upon,” commission's Mava Scott.

Poor grades in the Eastern Cape

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Department of Education says it is planning to address stakeholders concerning poor performance in schools. About three schools that got a 0% pass rate in the 2014 academic year. 

Most of them had few learners that sat for exams.

MEC Mandla Makupula says his department will engage with parents and stakeholders in the affected schools to discuss the future of those poor performing schools. 

He also said that his department would provide support to schools that attained between 10 and 40% pass rate.

“We've already contracted Fort Hare to assist us with leadership and management training that programme is already going on, but this year we will say here are the schools that we want to be assisted on.

“The second area is teacher development and professional support you must remember that teachers are curriculum implementers and with the changing curriculum it's important that we make sure that the capacity of our teachers is up to the expected standard,” Makupula said.

Government and the provincial department have secured billions of Rands to address the backlog of inappropriate schools in the Eastern Cape.

Image: St George’s College's prefects for 2015. Image courtesy of St George’s College.