Newspaper clipping – The Mercury – 19 January 2009
Interim plans ensure smooth school return
By Gugu Mbonambi
Despite numerous challenges the department of education has announced it is confident that teaching will begin on the first day of the school calendar, Wednesday, in all KwaZulu-Natal’s government schools.
The department said it would provide tents as an interim measure to schools in the province that were destroyed by recent thunderstorms. Education spokesperson Mbali Thusi said all reported problems relating to schools would be attended to and dealt with as emergencies, especially at schools severely damaged during the storm.
However, the department was working on estimated figures, which could not be released because there were pending reports from district offices.
The department held a pupil admission campaign last year appealing to parents to ensure that their children were registered by November. This contingency plan was set up to address the problem of late registration and the migration of pupils from one school to another.
Grade one pupils who are 5 years old and will turn six by June in the year of admission will be admitted to any public school and will be required to participate in all school activities.
Lindiwe Dladla, a grade 10 to 12 teacher at Sobonakhona High School in Umbumbulu, said teachers still needed additional training on the new outcomes based educational system.
Dladla said there should be pressure on teachers from the grade eight level. The department tended to apply more pressure on grade 12 teachers, forgetting that grade 8 to 10 was the foundation phase.
Education MEC Ina Cronje has promised that when schools open, 3 122 non-section-21 schools – those whose finances are managed by the department – will have their textbooks and stationery. This figure represents 99 percent of non-section-21 schools in the province.
She said the outstanding 1,5 percent was because of publishers not being able to fulfill orders – some of which had been placed as early as July 24 last year.
There has also been a steady increase in learning and teaching support materials budget allocation over the past four years and additional funds had been allocated to selected grades in an attempt to ensure that each pupil would eventually have a textbook for each subject or learning area.