Minister Grant launches school improvement initiative 28 May 2012
Speech by Donald Grant, Western Cape Education Minister
Dr Max Price, Vice-Chancellor University of Cape Town
Mr Melvyn Caroline, Director, Metropole East Education District
Mr Michael Benu and Mr Haido Mtetu of the Khayelitsha Development Forum
Dr Jonathan Clark, Director of the Schools Improvement Initiative
Principals, Educators, Learners and parents
Ladies and Gentleman
I am delighted to be here at the launch of the Schools improvement initiative.
I think it is fitting that we are launching this initiative here at COSAT - a school that made history earlier this year by becoming the first township school to be named one of the 10 top-performing schools in the province.
In the 2011 NSC, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, with 79 percent of its candidates obtaining access to bachelor degree study and 98.6 percent passing maths.
COSAT is definitely a prime example of what can be achieved in this community. It is a school that we can all aspire to.
However, there are other success stories, which include schools like Mathew Goniwe Memorial HS, whom under the leadership of their principal, Ms Mqumbisa, increased their pass rate from 45.5% pass rate in 2009, to 86.9% in 2010 and then 90% in 2011.
Masiyile Secondary, whose school achieved an 86.8% pass rate, from 34% in 2010. Increasing the number of passes from 52 to 112 in 2011.
Then there is Khanyolwethu Secondary , whose school achieved an increase from 24,4% to 60% and 75 passes in 2011.
While we have seen impressive increases in schools in the Khayelitsha area over the past few years, we have also seen an overall improvement across all schools in the area.
Khayelitsha has 21 high schools. In 2009 the National Senior Certificate results at these high schools were poor with 15 out of the 21 schools achieving under 60% with an average combined pass rate of 53.6%.
However, two years later, under this Government, there have been some phenomenal increases in this area. Since 2009, the average pass rate increased by 13.5% and the number of learners passing increased by 24.9%. There has also been a remarkable 44.8% increase in the number of Bachelor passes despite the fact that in a fluid public school system, many Khayelitsha residents attend school outside the area and in other parts of the peninsula.
Of the 15 underperforming schools in this community two years ago, there are now only six. This represents an impressive decrease of 60%.
Therefore, the life chances of the learners in this community have improved dramatically since 2009. This can be attributed to the increased distribution of human and financial resources to this area - an area which has historically experienced under-investment.
Despite the increases in performance in Khayelitsha schools, we are cognizant of the fact that there are even further improvements that need to be made.
It is important to improve the quantity of passes throughout the system, but it is equally important to improve the quality of those passes, and for Universities - it is the numbers qualifying for bachelor degree study.
While we have seen improvements in the number of bachelor passes in Khayelitsha over the past few years, we remain concerned that the overall number of bachelor passes is still too low.
As a Department we have a number of initiatives in place which we continue to roll out on a day to day basis with a view to increasing the number of learners that achieve access to bachelor degree study - wherever they choose to pursue their higher education studies.
Likewise, UCT is concerned about the numbers achieving bachelor passes, and are too determined to expand access to their institutions from all communities throughout the Western Cape.
That is why we appreciate the role UCT is playing in Khayelitsha through the Schools Improvement Initiative - which is a wonderful example of how institutions such as UCT can assist the Western Cape Government in improving the quality of education provided in the province, and more specifically, in areas such as Khayelitsha.
It is also important to note that the Head of Department of the WCED, Penny Vinjevold, also serves on the UCT council thereby forming a critical link between the WCED and UCT. This collaborative programme seeks to improve the quality of education through an increase in educator training and development, school-based interventions and learner mentorship with UCT playing a crucial role in providing additional resources and expertise and the sharing of best practice.
I am especially pleased with the educator development aspect of this initiative. Education development and training is one of our key priorities this year. Already we have seen an overwhelming response by educators to attend our teaching programmes, this indicates that our educators are keen to learn and develop more skills so that they can affectively deliver the curriculum to our learners.
Therefore, I am delighted that we can further increase the opportunities for ongoing professional development and training through the Schools improvement initiative.
I am also pleased that individual learners will also be given additional support and mentoring through the 100-UP programme.
Ultimately, we want to all ensure that as many of our learners have been given the best opportunities available to them, and that includes increased access to study further at higher education institutions such as UCT.
By participating in this programme, these learners are being exposed to countless opportunities and growth, specifically in areas of mathematics and science- two areas which are key to the development and progress of the Western Cape.
Therefore we look forward to working with UCT on this Schools Improvement Initiative, and if successful, expanding it further to other communities across the Western Cape.