Angie Motshekga rubbishes reports that ANC wants 14 years of school

2014-01-15 11:38

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has dismissed as nonsense reports that the ANC plans to increase the number of schooling years from 12 to 14.

The ANC, she said, wanted to formalise the early childhood development phase so that no child goes to Grade 1 before attending early childhood development centres. This, she said would help pupils to be better prepared for Grade 1.

Motshekga, who visited schools on the first day of school in Gauteng along with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe today, also said she had done her part and that the minister who would come after her following the elections should take the baton and run with it.

Motshekga and Motlanthe visited high schools Oracle Ponelopele in Midrand and Eqinisweni and Maphutha in Tembisa to ascertain their readiness for the academic year.

Motlanthe advised pupils to hit the ground running.

“Education is the right of each and every child. Our role as government is to ensure you have education ... We don’t want to burden you with any other responsibility. Education should be your main concern and focus. If you learn, tomorrow belongs to you,” Motlanthe told pupils at Oracle Ponelopele Secondary School.

Education, he said, was the best equaliser. “Through education we can equalise inequalities. South Africa needs your skills and education.”

Praise Ndebele, Gauteng’s best matric performer last year – who studied at Oracle Ponelopele – encouraged his former school mates. “You know I didn’t do anything special, it’s all about hard work. Now it’s your turn and you can do it. I’ve set an example for you guys to follow.

“Start now, and by now, I mean now. If you don’t start today you will regret it.”

At Eqinisweni Secondary School, one of the matric classes was already hard at work. The school’s principal, Jabu Kunene, said: “It’s not window dressing for the politicians. Every year we start on the first day of school. We ask the pupils to come a day before to get their books so that we don’t waste any time.”

Motlanthe warned the Grade 12 class to manage their time properly. “Focus on your studies. The principal and the teachers will give you all the attention you want, the rest is for you to do. You must be able to start working today as time lost can never be regained.”

At Maphutha Secondary School, Motlanthe told pupils gathered at assembly to “buckle up, learn and you will never regret it”.

“Whatever you do today must serve as a foundation for the future. We want to be proud of you. Procrastination is a thief of time,” he said.

Lungile Lubisi, a Grade 8 pupil at Maphutha, said she was overwhelmed by her first day at high school.

“I hope things will work out. I pray for the best.”

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