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'Eastern Cape education turnaround strategy needs to start from Grade R'

Jan 8, 2019
'Eastern Cape education turnaround strategy needs to start from Grade R'

As tens of thousands of learners across the province begin their schooling this week, and hundreds of thousands return to class, more needs to be done to ensure they are getting the best education possible, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Tuesday.

"There is no quick fix solution for the Eastern Cape Education system, it will take concerted effort and time, but first there needs to be the political will to admit there are failings, so that these can be addressed," said Edmund van Vuuren (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education.

"The Department of Education needs to actively look at the policies that are currently in place and, where necessary, revise these to ensure the retention of learners from Grade R through to Grade 12.

"Quality education is the key to improved quality of life. It empowers individuals to obtain a fulfilling job, contribute to the economy and utilise their talents to the full."

Van Vuuren said that for too long Eastern Cape learners have been failed by the provincial education system, and then have simply been cast aside.

"A good quality, timely matric qualification is essential for school leavers to further their education and training and secure jobs to put an end to the cycle of poverty."

He said that in the DA-run Western Cape, there is a concerted effort to keep learners in school, which has resulted in the lowest dropout rate in the country.

"The DA’s vision for the Eastern Cape is the provision of quality education that prepares learners for work and opportunities in a fast-changing global economy," Van Vuuren described.

"As part of our recovery plan to achieve a continuous sustained upward trajectory in our schools overall academic results, a DA-led government would do the following:

  1. Have a strong focus on literacy and numeracy in the first four years, as this is the foundation upon which all future learning is based.
  2. Introduce and sustain a mentor programme to assist, especially in underperforming schools
  3. Review the appointments of principals, as too many schools lack leadership, which negatively impacts on the academic excellence of the institution
  4. Have principals sign performance contracts with the Department
  5. Have education inspectors that routinely visit classrooms
  6. Prioritise all critical posts and populate vacancies with appropriately qualified educators
  7. Develop and implement teacher programmes for teacher development and subject development for targeted educators
  8. Introduce E-learning, apprenticeships and supervised after-school curriculum.

"By doing this, our results will improve, our learners, through the apprenticeship offered, will be skilled for the labour market and our quality passes will escalate due to the development programmes offered."

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