Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

6 December, 2011

WCED to deliver science kits, school bags and stationery to some of the province's poorest schools

Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape

I am very excited to announce the delivery of science kits, backpacks and stationery to some of our province's poorest schools.

In the New Year, 217 quintile one schools will receive a Natural Sciences kit in a mobile trolley unit that will support and improve the teaching and learning of science in our poorer schools in the intermediate phase.

One of the WCED's objectives is to increase the number of learners taking subjects like mathematics and physical science, as well as, improve the quality of passes in these areas.

Exposing learners at a young age with the equipment and tools to engage with the practical application of science is imperative if we are to grow their interest in the subject as well as to encourage them to take subjects like mathematics and physical science in the GET band.

It is essential for learners themselves to do and grasp the experiments as they are now compulsory with CAPS.

Each of the 217 schools will receive a steel cabinet on a mobile trolley which contains a variety of items such as glass beakers, gas burners, tubes, evaporating dishes, funnels and boiling flasks. The contents were prescribed by a Senior Curriculum Planner in consultation with lead teachers and Curriculum Advisors. Each kit costs over R13 000. The total cost of the project is R2.9 million.

The WCED's curriculum advisors will provide training for educators on how to use the equipment and how to conduct various experiments, in line with the curriculum, as well as, all the necessary safety precautions.

Another exciting delivery by the WCED to our poorer schools is the rollout of individual backpacks (school bags) for all Foundation Phase learners (Grade 1, 2 and 3) in all of our 301 Quintile 1 schools.

Each school bag will contain writing books, pencils, crayons, rulers, etc, and for Grade 3s, a dictionary. The cost of the project is R3.2 million.

The reason behind the rollout of the bags is to ensure that each learner has the means to carry their school homework, textbooks and workbooks home for further study and reading. This is the kind of routine that we want all our learners to subscribe to so that we can improve learner performance in this province.

Research has shown that many of the learners in Q1 schools do not own or cannot afford their own school bag or stationery. They therefore tend to carry their textbooks in plastic bags, and as a result, the books are more likely to be torn, lost or worn down. Also, rather than carrying them in plastic bags, learners sometimes store the books at home or leave them at school - therefore not properly utilizing them.

In order to make our schools text-rich environments, we are currently rolling out over 2 million textbooks, as well as workbooks to schools, particularly in the Foundation Phase grades, and we want to ensure that these books are fully utilized everyday.

We are appealing to our learners to use them, to look after them and to return textbooks at the end of the year, so that we can pass them on to others. We also appeal to parents to help us in looking after these books so that everyone can benefit from this investment.

The more books we save, the more books we can buy.

By working together, we can ensure access to as many texts as possible and continuously improve the quality of education in the province.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  072 724 1422 or

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2011 Western Cape Education Department