Re-opening of Schools

 

The Northern Cape Department of Education can confirm that schooling for third term commenced, despite the possibility of disruptions in the Sol Plaatje Municipal area. No disruptions were reported, however, the attendance of educators (90%) and learners (40%), specifically in the 75 schools in Kimberley is a clear indication that parents, educators and learners were cautious to send their children to school.

 

The MEC for Education, Ms Martha Bartlett visited 10 schools today in Galashewe, Roodepan and Greenpoint to assess and monitor the school re-opening. She was pleased to see that at most schools it was business as usual. She further encouraged schools to make use of their sms systems and schedule parent meetings to notify parents to send their children to school. We are confident that educators and learners will be in full attendance as from tomorrow.

 

We are however concerned over the number of learners we saw wandering in the streets, whilst they should be in class learning. It should be emphasised, as a Department we don't have much control over learners outside our premises and do encourage parents and the broader community to assist us in this regard. Education is a societal matter and collectively we must take responsibility to ensure that all learners of school going age are in class.

 

The re-opening of schools in the Northern Cape was overall successful, with a few challenges reported to our District offices. Our main concern at this stage, is the suspension of learner transport services by some operators in the ZF Mgcawu District, until an increase in their tariffs is implemented. We are busy engaging Provincial Treasury with regards to a possible increase in tariffs for all service providers effective as from 1 April 2018.

 

We are of the view that these service providers are not negotiating in good faith, since the function of learner transport was located with the Department of Education from 1 April 2018. We urge these service providers to continue to provide these services whilst we are doing our utmost best to resolve all their concerns.

 

Our learners deserve the best possible access to education, with the necessary support from the Department and the broader society. Collectively, we can bring about the change we want to see in our schools and in our society through Education. We should not under-estimate the power of Education.

 

End.