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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002

Learners return for busy second term

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Minister of Education.

The Western Cape Education Department will embark on various programmes to improve the quality of teaching and learning as schools start the second term of 2002 today (Wednesday, 10 April).

The special focus of the department in metropolitan areas will be to support high schools that achieved less than 60% in the 2001 Senior Certificate examinations.

The department is adopting a holistic approach to supporting these schools, by dealing with a wide range of factors that influence effective teaching and learning.

Special initiatives include the Learning Schools Project, which is aimed at improving results in mathematics and science in particular in under-performing schools.

They also include programmes to build the capacity of school management teams and governing bodies; to develop the leadership skills of Representative Councils of Learners; and to assist teachers in ensuring classroom discipline.

These programmes will be implemented by specialist staff from the WCED's new Education Management and Development Centres (EMDCs) and the head office.

EMDCs in rural areas will focus in particular on support for rural schools running multi-grade classes (where learners in different grades are taught in one class).

In general, the department will focus during the second term on consolidating the good start to the year. Learners will engage with the bulk of their schoolwork this term, and their progress will be evaluated for continuous assessment results.

Learners in Grades 10 to 12 will also prepare this term for important mid-year examinations.

The WCED is completing the complex process of placing a large number of learners who enrolled at an informal school based in the Nyanga/Crossroads area, as well as other learners facing similar problems in Khayelitsha.

We have arranged places for them in formal schooling. This process has not been easy and we call on the community to give these measures their full support, in the best interests of their children's education.

Other exciting developments this term will include the work of the Ministerial Task Team on mother-tongue education, which will start investigating the feasibility of expanding mother-tongue and third language education in primary schools in the Western Cape.

I have held initial discussions with the task team, and will follow its progress with keen interest.

We will expand the WCED's successful Reading Schools campaign to high schools this term. High Schools will follow the example of primary schools by introducing 30-minute reading periods, to build reading capacity and interest. Involvement by high schools will be voluntary in 2002, and will be compulsory next year.

We have a busy term ahead of us. I appeal to all concerned to ensure its success.

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
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