Speech by Minister Donald Grant: Opening of school hall - Pelican Park PS, 9 October 2013
Mr Glen Van Harte - District Director of Metro South
Senior Officials of the WCED
Mrs Kistnasamy - ex-principal
Mr Chetty and the SGB
Mr John Matthews, Mr Isaacs & their teams from Garden Cities and the Archway Foundation
Educators, learners and parents.
Ladies and Gentleman
Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to address you on this wonderful occasion.
When I arrived at your school I was struck by the positive spirit of the staff & guests of the school.
As we are all aware, today, we are celebrating the official opening of the new school hall.
I would like to thank Garden Cities and the Archway Foundation sincerely for their contribution to this hall and the SGB for grabbing the opportunity to fundraise.
Your hard work and efforts have all paid off today and I look forward to seeing this new hall become a hub of exciting activity and community engagement. I am sure it will also house many nervous learners at exam time!
I am so pleased to see this kind of investment being located in such an excellent school. One of our objectives, as the Department, is to improve the quality of infrastructure at schools that are performing well so as to increase access to quality schools. While we have a number of projects on the go ourselves, we appreciate the support and assistance of organisations, such as Garden Cities to assist us in this goal.
In the case of Pelican Park, we are confident that the new upgrade to this school will benefit education in this community and we look forward to increasing access further to learners once this school becomes a full-service school.
While any new school building or fancy equipment adds value to your school and makes the learning environment more conducive to learning our efforts to improve the quality of education in our schools will have little impact if our learners cannot master the basic skills of literacy and numeracy.
The ability to read, write and calculate is one of the more important skills our children need in terms of their education and is the foundation upon which all further learning is built.
Therefore the significance attached to the development of our young learners' language and mathematics skills through reading, writing and calculated should not be underestimated.
This is definitely one of the areas where Pelican Park excels.
Your 2012 Language and Mathematics results were pleasing, with some wonderful improvements in Language in particular. The school is achieving well above the average for this Circuit, the District and the Province in both Language and Mathematics in Grade 3 and Grade 6. In Grade 3 Language and in Grade 6 Language and Mathematics - this school even doubles the provincial average when it comes to the pass rate. This is a wonderful achievement.
I was very pleased to present to this school an award earlier this year at our Annual Language and Mathematics award ceremony.
This school was one of three schools in the Province, with learner numbers fewer than 600, given an award for showing that they had the greatest improvement in Language at Grade 6 level over the period 2011 and 2012.
These increases in performance are important.
They show that programmes and interventions you have put in place at this school are working. This does, however, not mean that there is no room for further improvement.
If we continue to have the right positive attitude, work together as teams, plan suitably and implement those plans properly, we can improve language and mathematics results even further at this school.
I see this school will be writing their 2013 systemic tests tomorrow. I wish you all the best of luck!
To the Principal and educators of this school, thank you for your on-going commitment and dedication to these learners and the improvement of education in this Province.
It is clearly evident that this school is being properly administered, maintained and managed and I, and the WCED, am pleased to see this.
To the school governing body, you have a major responsibility which you exercise on behalf of this school. The hours you spend on the work of this school are a wonderful example of voluntary service which will benefit the school, its learners and the community.
I hope you take advantage of what this new school hall has to offer this community and the potential of this facility for future fundraising events.
To the learners of Pelican Park each and every one of you here today has been given the opportunity to learn at this school, to be taught, guided and stimulated by hard working educators.
You now have to decide whether you are going to take full advantage of that opportunity. To make the right choices that will affect your life in the years to come. It's not just about passing. It's also about achieving the best you can so that you can move on successfully to the next phase of your life.
But with that comes responsibility. You are responsible for completing your homework, studying hard for tests, respecting and taking advice from your educators, and leading a healthy lifestyle.
I certainly hope to be back to see you all soon, in this hall, perhaps even participating in a cultural or arts event or even a graduation.