More youngsters attending South African schools happen to be completing Grade 9 – from 80% in 2003 to 88% in 2010 and even more are in addition successfully completing their Grade 12 with more than 24% qualifying for Bachelor of Arts studies at universities, according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
The country in addition has more than doubled Grade R enrollment from 300 000 in 2003 to 705 000 this past year, with over 12 million learners currently being accommodated within the country’s education and learning system.
“We have developed a relatively stable schooling system which has extended the right to basic education… we are set to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals on expanding access to education,” Motshekga said.
She revealed the fact that building contractors have already been selected for the building of 49 schools in the Eastern Cape in order to remove and replace mud structures which might be partly the reason why there exists a higher than normal learner drop-out rate in the province.
Currently there are 126 mud schools in the Mount Frere area alone, with Motshekga indicating it is going to take the country greater than 20 years to deal with the backlog. This is in spite of policy improvements by government, including the enactment of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative which, among others, has resulted in the building of 1 648 classrooms, provision of sanitation and electricity to more than 700 schools.
To further improve universal access to education, Motshekga stated that the department had already made inroads in ensuring that free schooling and school meals reached as many poor schools as they possibly can. At the moment, in excess of eight million learners in more than 80% of public schools happen to be taking advantage of the no-fee policy with the vast majority of them located in Limpopo, Free State and the Eastern Cape.
The department has at the same time made progress with the provision of learning and teaching support material.
More than six million work books and 24 million textbooks in all South African languages have been sent out to schools this current year. Motshekga brought up issues concerning the large number of drop outs in the country’s educational facilities which she she believes is due to poverty and poor academic performance. Inadequate teaching in schools along with ineffective school management were in addition to blame for the high drop out rates.
During the State of the Nation Address, President Zuma encouraged teacher unions to make sure that they worked with education officials in ensuring that teachers were well-prepared, calling for an emphasis on the so called Triple T — teachers, textbooks and time.
Currently, processes are now being completed to assess principals and deputy principals inaugurating a brand new era of performance agreements, accountability, sound school management as well as the accruing benefits associated with quality teaching and correct utilization of time