State of Readiness for 2018

 

School readiness relates to whether all schools in our Province can commence with learning and teaching on the first day of schooling, and to that effect, the Department has developed a school readiness management plan that includes:

  • ·         Registration of learners ahead of the start of the new academic year to minimise disruptions to learning and teaching;
  • ·         Procuring LTSM (textbooks and stationery) ahead of the opening of schools to make sure they are ready for distribution to learners in the first week of schools re-opening; and
  • ·         Making sure that all schools have the necessary teachers for all grades and subjects at the start of the academic year.

To date all indicators point to a commendable state of readiness for 2018 to ensure that teaching and learning commence on the first day of schooling in our Province. Our report therefore reflects the following:

 

Admission of Learners

The Northern Cape Department of Education regards early enrolment of learners as a priority for the start of a successful academic year. In preparation for the 2018 learner admission, the Department has issued Circular No 5 of 2017 in conjunction with Circular No. 58 of 2016 to guide schools on the administration of learner admissions in Public Ordinary Schools.

 

Despite the closing date of 31 May 2017, learner admissions are still in progress as a result of late applications. Up to date, we have received a total of 20646 learner admissions applications only in the Frances Baard and John Toalo Gaetsewe Districts, where we are experiencing the highest learner enrolment numbers. Included in this figure, is a total of 2572 late learner admissions that were received after the closing date, which is in itself a significant number of learners seeking placement.

 

As a department we cannot turn a blind eye to these applicants, as education is a constitutional right. Relating to the status quo on the current admission process, the Department already placed 19127 learners in schools in the Frances Baard and John Toalo Gaetsewe District, and is working tirelessly to place the outstanding 1519 learners. The chance of this figure increasing is highly possible during the reopening of schools in January 2018. We have therefore taken a decision to identify two central venues in Kimberley and Kuruman that will specifically deal with late applications. The District Offices in Frances Baard (Kimberley, Hadison Park Offices) and the John Toalo Gaetsewe (Mothibistad, Baitiredi Offices) will manage the late applications from the 15th of January 2018 from 08:00 to 16:00. All other schools outside Kimberley and Kuruman will manage their own late admissions starting on the 17th of January 2018 from 14:00 to 16:00 daily (Monday to Friday), to avoid disturbing valuable learning and teaching time.

 

The Department is busy finalising the learner placements, including those who have submitted appeals to the Office of the MEC. We are experiencing a high enrolment volume in Grade R, Grade 1 and Grade 8. We have completed the promotion and progression of learners, and determining how it will affect the learner admissions at identified "hotspot" schools.

 

However, we must indicate, that we are experience a challenge with regards to the placement of Grade R's, especially in the Frances Baard District. We are encouraging Grade R parents to start looking for placement at Early Childhood Development (ECD) community based sites, as we cannot guarantee placement at public schools. It is an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in and have therefore prioritised the construction of 56 classrooms and 36 ECD classrooms in the first quarter of 2018.

 

We will provide the parents with an update on the status quo of learner admissions before the 2018 school academic year commence. We further urge parents to cooperate and work with us to place learners at a school where space is available.

 

Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM)

The Northern Cape Department of Education (NCDOE) regards Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM) as an integral and vital part of our education system and therefore provisioning of textbooks for every learner in the schooling system is a priority. The NCDOE has ensured that textbook provisioning since the implementation of Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) is finalized before starting the new cycle of procurement annually. This implies that all schools received their textbooks as per respective orders placed.

The key focus areas in the monitoring of LTSM provisioning are on the:Distribution of workbooks; 

  • ·         Distribution of textbooks;
  • ·         Distribution of stationery;
  • ·         Availability of an LTSM inventory;
  • ·         Availability of Braille materials and other Assistive devices in special schools.
  • ·         Availability and effectiveness of the implementation of Textbook Retrieval Policies.

In terms of the CAPS roll out plan our focus this year is primarily on Grade 10 Literature, Grade 12 Technical subjects and Braille & Large print.

The warehouse has completed the counting and checking of all Grade 10 Literature and Grade 12 Technical subject stock. The delivery of Grade 10 Literature books to schools started on 27 November 2017 and is at 95% by 06 December 2017. Delivery of Technical subjects books will commence on 06 December 2017.

Only six (6) Grade 10 Literature books are still outstanding from two (2) publishers and only one (1) Grade 12 Technical book from one (1) publisher is still outstanding.

 

Stationary

As it relates to stationery, all schools within the province have the Section 21 function and place their own stationery order which we monitor as a department. Procurement and delivery is in progress. Overall delivery progress stand at 76,20%. Only 10 schools procured from the centralized contract and stationery delivery to these schools are 100%.

Workbook delivery for Volume 2 Grade 1 to 9 and Life Skills Volume 1 and 2 is at 94,5%. Our District offices are monitoring delivery and addressing challenges where it arises.

 

Textbooks

Retention and retrieval of textbooks at the end of the year remains a big challenge, and an advocacy campaign is underway to encourage parents to return the textbooks to the school. Circular 57 of 2017 was issued to direct schools on effective retrieval systems and reporting. We kindly request all parents and guardians to honour their parental responsibility in ensuring that all learners return all textbooks. Education is a societal matter, and this campaign is aimed at all citizens, those in and out of school. Let us ensure a 100% retrieval of textbooks. A provincial retrieval report will be made available in January 2018.

 

Learner Transport

Learner transport is intended for poor farm, rural and special school learners where access to a school poses a challenge. Learners must attend the nearest suitable school to their residence.

The learners who do not qualify for learner transport, is where the nearest suitable school is situated within a radius of five (5) kilometres to the parents’/ guardians’ residence.  We have finalised all the routes and we can confirm that learner transport will only be provided to learners that qualifies.

Learner transport is currently provided for 25 724 learners from 267 schools on 400 routes operated by 222 service providers across all 5 Districts in the Province. We can confirm that all 400 routes will be operational when the schools reopen in January 2018.

We are busy engaging the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison to discuss the migration of this function back to the Department of Education. We are working on a management plan for the relocation of this function which is envisaged to take effect on 1st April 2018. 

We further call on members of the public to report or notify us about any challenges experienced in their community relating to Learner Transport.

 

Staff Establishments

All 533 Public Ordinary Schools, 11 Special Schools and 12 Full Service Schools have been issued with their Final Educator Staff Establishments for the 2018 academic year. The percentage of Public Ordinary, Special and Full Service schools that will receive the same or more posts for 2018 is 401 (72%). Schools are allocated educator posts based on the number of learners in the school for that particular year based on a ratio of 1:32 in Public Ordinary Schools. The ration in Special schools is 1:12. That is one educator per 32 learners ideally and 1:12 learners ideally. Below a breakdown of the statistics:

  • ·         Schools that will receive the same amount of posts is 257 (46.2%)
  • ·         The number of schools gaining posts is 144 (25.9%).
  • ·         The number of schools losing posts is 155 (27.9%).

 

Infrastructure

All schools in the Northern Cape have access to water, sanitation and electricity. We are in the process of procuring a total of 4470 chairs and 484 desks to identified schools. So far we’ve already spend over R6million on the provisioning of school furniture in schools.

For the anticipated growth in learner numbers we are moving mobile classrooms to strategic areas to address the overcrowding in some schools. The construction of 3 new schools in Karos, Greenpoint and Wrenchville will also contribute significantly in this regards.

The following are some of the key infrastructure deliverables that will be completed during the first quarter of 2018:

  • ·         56 classrooms;
  • ·         36 ECD Classrooms;
  • ·         Construction of new ablution blocks and upgrades to sanitation at 30 schools and;
  • ·         Water Supply upgrades at 75 schools to ensure facilities meet the minimum suitability standards.

We continue to do routine maintenance to schools and hostels, especially it relates to the provision of water and sanitation.

 

Support visits to Schools

We have deployed Members of Parliament, Members of the NC Executive Council, Members of the National Council of Provinces, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Mayors and Councillors to various schools across the Province on Wednesday, the 17th of January 2018, to monitor amongst other the following:

  • ·         Admissions and Registrations;
  • ·         School Management Planning;
  • ·         Teacher Provisioning;
  • ·         Learning and Teaching Resources; and
  • ·         Basic Infrastructure

 

 

End.