Pretoria: Mpumalanga Education MEC Reginah Mhaule says schools in the province will be supported according to their specific needs to ensure that they improve their results.
The MEC said her department will intensify the school based intervention programme as a way to improve the general performance of schools.
She addressed school principals in a meeting held to discuss plans for 2015 in Middleburg on Thursday.
“… You [should] indicate the kind of support you [want] so that we can improve our results in a qualitative manner,” she said.
The MEC said the department will continue to support learners through programmes such as radio lessons and dial-a-tutor.
“I will be happy to hear from schools that obtained 100% on what have they done differently to get these results. It is an issue of sharing good practices,” MEC Mhaule said.
She encouraged primary school principals to look at issues relating to the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results and identify areas that need improvement.
“It is our firm belief that it’s only a solid foundation that may yield sustainable positive outcomes. I am happy that the department has started operationalising the Early Childhood Development Institute on 19 January 2015.
“It is the first of its kind and will help us improve teaching and learning at an early childhood Development level,” MEC said.
MEC Mhaule said the province had a steady improvement of Grade 12 results since 2009, and that it was currently standing in a favourable position compared to other provinces.
“… For the first time, all our four districts are performing above the national average. It is a fact that you have worked around the clock to ensure that the province obtains these results. For this reason, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you dearly,” the MEC told principals.
The province took position five in the 2014 grade 12 results with a 79% pass rate.
Grade 12 numbers decline
The MEC was concerned about the declining number of grade 12 learners over the years, saying it was not reflective of the actual number of grade 12 learners that were in grade 11 the previous year.
“This means that there is an unconfirmed anomaly that is within our system, holding back some of our grade 11 learners who should be progressing to Grade12,” she said.
She said the 2014 Grade 12 results showed that the province was not doing well in mathematics and physical science. This is based on the number of learners that are doing these subjects, as well as those that are passing the subjects.
“In 2013, there were 19 400 learners who wrote mathematics, 11 301 passed it obtaining 58.3%. In 2014, there were 17 767 learners that wrote Mathematics, 10 050 passed obtaining a 56.6% pass… This is a representation of learner enrolment decline as much as it is also a pass percentage decline,” the MEC said.
She said it was the same reality for physical science.
Choosing subjects carefully
The MEC urged school principals to take note that bad subject combinations had long-term effects on the learners’ future.
She asked for learners to be taught subjects that will enable them to get admission at post matric institutions.
“One learner came to my office last week pleading for a bursary and met the requirements to study towards a bachelors’ degree. The learner had achieved level 6 in business studies, level 7 in dramatic arts, level 6 in English home language, level 6 in history, level 6 in life orientation, level 5 mathematical literacy and level 6 in siSwati first additional language.
“The dilemma was that we could not support the student because of the subject stream but I wondered if there was any university in this country that will admit her with such a combination,” MEC said.
Rooting out poor performance
The MEC urged school principals to ensure that the number of dysfunctional schools decreases this year.
“In 2014 we declared that the 94 schools which performed below 60% will be declared dysfunctional and we also said that there must be no such school in 2015.
“This number was reduced to 84 but of concern is that we had 52 new entrants in this category. Our view is that had it been that these 52 schools obtained their previous results, the province would have attained its 10% target,” the MEC said.
Out of 45 081 2014 grade 12 full-time candidates who wrote 2014 matric examinations, 9 466 did not make it. The MEC encouraged all schools to support learners who will be writing supplementary examinations, scheduled to start from 16 February to 24 March 2015.
“… These learners must be fully supported. We must ensure that all learners who qualify to write supplementary examinations should be encouraged to register on time to receive support from their respective schools.
“There are learners who failed for the first time. I have issued a directive that these learners should be re-admitted to our schools without fail,” the MEC said.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS