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Media Release

27 July, 2007

WCED programmes ensure quality education

The WCED answered as follows to a query by the West Cape News agency on examples of programmes designed to improve the quality of education in poor communities the Western Cape.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is implementing a wide of programmes to improve the quality of education in poor communities.

While we are working closely with schools to implement these programmes, we also rely on parents to take a keen interest in the education of their children by supporting the school and by encouraging their children to work hard.

Parents can get involved in the governance of their schools, to ensure that they provide a quality education. They can also support their children's education at home by encouraging them to read, practice their maths, do their homework and study.

Most learners in primary schools in poor areas struggle with literacy and numeracy. We are implementing a comprehensive strategy to deal with this problem. The strategy is showing signs of success in literacy, but numeracy remains a challenge.

The strategy includes employing about 500 teaching assistants who are helping teachers in 163 poor schools to improve the literacy and numeracy performance of learners in Grade 1 to 3.

We have a team of about 100 literacy and numeracy specialists who are providing guidance and support to teachers for these grades in poor areas throughout the province.

We have a Learner Attainment Strategy for high schools that achieve pass rates of less than 60% in the matric exams. Thanks to the strategy and its predecessor, the Learning Schools Project, the number of schools in this category has dropped from 82 in 1999 to 34 in 2006.

The strategy covers Grades 10 to 12 and looks at all aspects of school development, from school management to teacher development and learner support.

In April 2006, the WCED began implementing the Quality Improvement, Development, Support and Upliftment Programme (QIDS-UP, pronounced "Kids-Up"), for schools in poor areas.

QIDS-UP is a national programme and focuses on improving physical resources, including infrastructure and equipment, teaching and learning support materials, teacher training and support and strengthening school management and governance.

The WCED allocates funding to schools according to national norms and standards, which ensures that poor schools receive up to six times more funding from the province than wealthier schools.

The WCED is currently establishing 28 focus schools in poor communities to improve access to education in three specialised subject areas, namely, Arts & Culture; Business, Commerce and Management; and Engineering and Technology.

We are also providing additional support to 50 high schools participating in the Dinaledi programme in poor areas to improve learner performance in maths and science.

The WCED has Education Management and Development Centres (EMDCs) in each of our seven districts. The EMDCs have multi-disciplinary teams who work with schools to improve all aspects of education delivery, focusing mainly on schools in poor areas.

We are currently redesigning the WCED to provide greater support to schools via specialised circuit teams.

Other programmes include teacher development, via the WCED's Cape Teaching Institute and related projects, and our Integrated Quality Management System, to support whole school development.

The WCED's Khanya programme installs computer laboratories in poor schools to support teaching and learning. Thanks to Khanya, every high school in the Western Cape now has a computer laboratory. Khanya is now focusing on primary schools.

All of these initiatives form part of the Human Capital Development Strategy of the Western Cape (HCDS), a cornerstone of the provincial government's growth and development strategy.

For a comprehensive overview of what the WCED is doing to improve the quality of education in the Western Cape, especially in poor communities, we suggest that you read the MEC's Budget Speech, which you can find on the WCED web site at: http://wced.wcape.gov.za/ministry/speeches/ebudget2007.html

Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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2007 WCED