Pretoria: Gauteng MEC for Education Barbara Creecy says she is satisfied with the progress made through the back-to-school campaign.
The department says early preparations for the academic year have proven to be a great success.
The department has gradually over the years brought forward its School Readiness Campaign to an earlier period preceding the academic year.
The department is in the process of concluding its 2014 back-to-school campaign, which is centred on ensuring that teaching and learning began in earnest in all Gauteng schools on the first day of the academic year.
Expressing satisfaction with the progress made, Creecy said: “We are very pleased that significant progress has been made in finalising enrolments and other logistics that go with the schools reopening.”
Upon finalisation of this process the department will look at resource allocation in relation to the number of learners in Gauteng schools.
“Our 10-day head count has revealed that we have this year welcomed 195 756 Grade1’s and 142 763 Grade 8 learners into our system, a 2.2% increase compared to the previous year,” Creecy said.
The majority of the learners were placed in October 2013, with over 20 000 late applications processed and placements done in January 2014.
There is still a trickle of new applications received and these are being dealt with on a case by case basis.
MEC Creecy expressed satisfaction with the fact that the preparations for the academic year have enabled the department to handle the pressure from increased applications.
“We are pleased that in spite of the increase in learner numbers, our school building program has allowed for a decrease in average classroom sizes.
“In 2014 we have an average learner ratio of 37 learners at primary schools and 35 at secondary school. We do however remain concerned with overcrowding at some schools,” Creecy said.
The department opened 17 new schools and 16 more will be opened in April to deal with the growing demand of space in Gauteng.
An additional 164 emergency classrooms and 40 toilets will be delivered to schools across the province to deal with the growth.
In view of the growing number in the system, the department is currently conducting an audit in all provincial schools to check on the need for additional Learner Teacher Support Martial (LTSM).
Special attention has been given to the CAPS Implementing Grades, that is, grades 7, 8, 9 &12. Orientation sessions were held across the province for educators entering the system for the 1st time. Curriculum packages were prepared and distributed to all new schools.
The department has since January this year deployed a total of 6 175 scholar patrollers in Gauteng schools. The schools are also linked to police stations that are in close proximity.
“We are pleased that the department has done well in its preparations for the new academic year, but we remain concerned about parents who ignore the official admissions period.
There are still parents who are bringing children as late as mid-February without any compelling reason,” Creecy said.
She also urged parents to comply with the admissions deadline.
SOURCE: SA NEWS