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Media Release

Thursday, 15 August, 2002

Gaum signs partnership to support education development in W Cape

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

I am pleased to announce that I have signed a major partnership agreement on Wednesday, 13 August 2002 with the Learning Systems Institute at the Florida State University.

Dr Laura Hassler, Director of the Learning Systems Institute at the Florida State University, signed the agreement on behalf of the university.

Dr Sara Moten, co-ordinator of the Education for Development and Democracy Initiative, represented USAid at the signing ceremony in Tallahassee, Florida.

In terms of the agreement, USAid will provide more than R2 million over the next year to fund the development of teaching skills and improved learner performance in mathematics, science and technology.

While the Co-operation Agreement between Florida and the Western Cape was signed in 1995, it was dormant until 2000 when it was given renewed attention by the respective governments. A high level visit by a delegation led by Lt. Governor Frank Brogan to the Western Cape set in motion a number of activities that gave real content to the formal agreement. This was followed by a series of discussions and visits by delegations to both Florida and the Western Cape.

This agreement includes financial support for two significant Western Cape Education Department projects, namely:

  • the In-service Training Institute for Teachers, that will be launched on the 4th of September 2002, and
  • the Maths and Science Academy, that is planned to open in January 2003.

These projects will be supported by USAid with $110 800 and $100 000 respectively for the next year, according to the partnership agreement entered into on Tuesday. These are significant contributions that will certainly enhance the efforts of the Western Cape Education Department to address important developmental issues within the Western Cape. It is envisaged that these projects might be extended and the inclusion of other Western Cape Education Department projects will also be discussed with FSU and USAid.

I stressed the importance of education as a driver for future economic and technological development in the Western Cape when I told representatives of the media in Tallahassee that my aim is to support education for a better future for the people of the Western Cape. My statement continued as follows, "The co-operation with Florida will make a significant contribution to the development of learners and teachers from previously disadvantaged communities".

"Giving real content to our co-operative relationship with the State of Florida in this way is important to building a world-class province. For the Western Cape to really become a global player we need to strengthen our International partnerships in ways that are beneficial to both partners and that can contribute to social and economic development in the Western Cape".

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University:
In other discussions with representatives from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) views were exchanged on formalising co-operation between FAMU and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture on issues relating to development of small farmers, research and training exchanges in viticulture and the possible establishment of exchange programs for teachers and managers in the education field.

These issues will be further explored with the Minister of Agriculture, Minister Johan Gelderblom, and institutions within the Western Cape and Florida. This initiative by FAMU to engage the Western Cape delegation during their visit to Florida is a clear indication of the interest by various institutions to give practical content to the partnership between Florida and Western Cape.

Media Inquiries:
Ruhan Robbertze
Cell: 082 577 6551
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