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Media Release

5 December, 2007

R6-million for literacy and numeracy, says Education MEC Dugmore

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) plans to invest R6-million in its Literacy and Numeracy strategy in the next three years, including offering 100 bursaries for maths and science teachers, as part of its strategy to improve literacy and numeracy levels and the quality of education, said Education MEC Cameron Dugmore in preply to oral questions in the Provincial Legislature today.

MEC Dugmore also had to answer questions relating to the re-settlement of a water-logged school; the completion of a school building; accommodation of rural learners; and the appointment of invigilators for matric examinations.

See full questions and answers below.

QUESTION 2 - Mr Esau to ask Mr C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

How many qualified teachers are currently required for Mathematics and Science and how will the shortage be addressed over the next five years?

The WCED does not currently have a comprehensive database that can give immediate access to data on supply and demand for Mathematics and Science teachers.

Challenges for such a database include collecting and maintaining information on teachers who are teaching subjects they did not train to teach, in either temporary or permanent capacities. This applies in particular to schools in rural or disadvantaged areas, where it is difficult to replace a mathematics or science teacher. Schools often have to engage the services of teachers who have not specialised in these subjects.

The WCED is adopting a range of measures to address this issue.

Through PERSAL, WCED has a record of the REQV level of every employee, including major subjects, if applicable. Our Research Directorate has also started gathering information on teacher qualifications for the WCED's Central Education Management Information System (CEMIS).

The WCED has commissioned research into teacher supply and demand that will commence in 2008.

In January, a task team will start the process of aligning all existing data basis and will develop a comprehensive database of teacher supply/ demand, qualifications, specialisation and continuous information of subjects presented per educator per school.

Meanwhile, the WCED is providing bursaries for education students planning to teach Mathematics and Science.

The WCED is also in communication with the Education Deans' Forum of Western Cape HEIs in order to improve planning, communication alignment and in the end the quality of education.

The WCED Cape Teaching Institute (CTI) held a very successful, two-day Seminar for Maths Teachers attended by 500 maths teachers in October

The CTI has rolled out the following courses:

Foundation Phase Numeracy - 3 courses, 151 attendees

Intermediate - Mathematics - 3 courses 163 attendees and sience - 3 courses 142 attendees

Senior Phase Mathematics, 1 course for 43 persons

In order to re-skill educators, WCED invests in Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) courses provided by universities for Mathematics and Science teachers. The department plans to fund 100 teachers for the two-year course as part if its Literacy and Numeracy strategy. The WCED plans to invest R1 million in 20007/08; R2-million in 2008/09; and R3-million in 2009/10.

QUESTION 3 - Mr S Esau to ask Mr C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

With regard to Bongolethu Primary, Philippi:

(1) what plans have been designed to replace this water-logged school.

The school has not been on the priority list for attention because it only recently became a public school. The matter will receive further attention during the 2008/09 financial year.

(2) has land has been identified for the relocation of the school.

The WCED is currently reviewing options for the placement of the school. These include using land allocated for schools in informal settlement areas of Browns' Farm. However, this would impact negatively on plans to accommodate learners from feeder areas for each site. Another option is to use land on higher ground on the Bongolethu site, currently earmarked for sports fields.

(3) what consultation processes in this regard have been implemented.

The WCED consulted the school community initially, and will consult the broader community during the new year, to inform final preparation of the 2008/09 infrastructure budget.

(4) under what circumstances are teaching and learning taking place currently?

The school did not previously experience problems. However, we are now addressing problems caused by unusual rainfalls of recent weeks.

QUESTION 4 - Mr M J R de Villiers to ask Mr C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

(a) Why is the Masibambane Secondary School not completed;

Masibambane is already a completed school. We are currently upgrading the school in phases. We have completed all phases budgeted for to date.

(b) was its full completion budgeted for; and

We have budgeted for each phase of the upgrade of the school.

(c) when will it be completed?

Masibambane is a completed school. We will continue upgrading the school in phases. The next phase includes plans by the School Governing Body to replace prefabricated classrooms. The WCED will pay funds for the project into the account of the school once the department has received the necessary signed legal agreement from the SGB.

The SGB will appoint consultants now that will assist the school to complete a proper project plan and prepare the necessary building plans. After approval of the project plan and the building plan, additional funds will be allocated to the school in 2008/9 to complete the construction of the new classrooms.

QUESTION 9 - Ms J Witbooi to ask Mr C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

Does the department have any plans in place for next year to handle cases where Secondary schools in particular the rural areas, cannot or do not want to accommodate learners due to the fact that schools are too full?

The WCED applies an early registration system each year. The information gathered from the schools is analyzed by the district offices and shortages are reported to Head Office.

These needs are further analysed by the Head Office and are prioritized according to funds available.

These HOTSPOT projects were included on the adjustment project list for 2007/8, as is shown on the Adjusted Estimates of Provincial Expenditure 2007.

There are four legs to this programme:

Leg 1 - Funds are transferred to School Governing Bodies (SGB) who purchase new mobile classrooms (fully funded by WCED)

Leg 2 - Funds are transferred to School Governing Bodies (SGB) who built permanent classrooms (SGB contributions plus WCED contribution).

Leg 3 - The Department of Transport and Public Works relocates available mobile classrooms for use during 2008.

Leg 4 - WCED subsidized learner transport may be provided from schools (areas) with serious shortages to schools (areas) where there are classrooms available.

The WCED is aware that additional major shortages may develop after the summer holiday. Such shortages will receive the necessary attention when they arise and has been devised Funds were appropriated to address classroom shortages at the start of the 2008 academic year.

QUESTION 10 - Ms J Witbooi to ask Mr C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

(a) What process is followed annually to appoint invigilators for matric final examinations at schools;

Schools are responsible for identifying and nominating invigilators. Invigilators must be citizens of good standing in their communities. They may not be members of the parent body or staff of the school. Schools submit names to Circuit Managers who then submit them to the Examinations Directorate of the WCED for consideration and appointment.

(b) who is responsible for this process; and

The Examinations Directorate of the WCED manages this process.

(c) what steps do the department take when invigilators commit unlawful practices?

Officials responsible for investigating irregularities will investigate immediately if they receive reports of any alleged irregularities by any role player in the examinations, including invigilators. The department will apply due process in this investigation, in hearings that may as a result of the investigations, and the application of appropriate sanctions. The WCED's Irregularities Committee governs the process of dealing with irregularities.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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