GP MEC hands out study material
Johannesburg - Gauteng MEC for education Barbara Creecy handed out study material booklets to parents and pupils at a school in Alexandra on Thursday as part of the department's contingency plan during the public servants' strike.
Creecy, dressed in a blue Gauteng department of education overall, handed over newspaper study booklets to eager parents at KwaBhekilanga Secondary School, north of Johannesburg.
The department had announced on Wednesday at a conference that around 40 000 booklets would be handed out in the province for matric pupils to help with preparation for exams while teachers were on strike.
This was after parents had approached the department to ask how they could get their children ready for the coming exams.
Creecy and the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) chairperson Charles Mokonyama addressed a packed classroom.
"We are gathered here to teach one another so that when exams come we are prepared and understand the material," he said.
The study group programme would continue after the strike and he hoped to organise tutors.
With only 14 days until preliminary exams and less than two months until finals, Creecy said it was important to use the time wisely and not focus on the strike.
"You can organise yourself into small groups and members of the community will be here to help you with learning and discipline," she said.
Study booklets for essential subjects like maths, maths literacy, accounting, natural science, life science and business economics had been printed for pupils and the material was also available on the department's website.
"We have seen learners naturally form study groups and we want to provide the resources for them. We have printed these out to make material particularly available to matrics," she said.
Creecy said that for now the dates scheduled for the matric preliminary and final exams would not be changed.
If the strike was prolonged they would reconsider the dates.
When it was time for questions, a pupil stood up and asked what the department was doing to avoid future strikes by teachers.
"You (pupils) should remember that South Africa is a democracy and teachers have organised a legal strike. We obviously didn't think we'd be in this situation but now we are here and we are dealing with it."
"We cannot stop a strike but we can make contingency plans for the future," Creecy said.
A pupil who said he and his classmates had not been taught properly the whole year because of disruptions, asked Creecy what he should write when exams came, as he had nothing.
Creecy said she was aware of disruptions but that pupils had been given access to extra classes.
These classes for Grades 10 to 12 had been running on Saturdays since April 17 in six essential subjects to help pupils prepare.
The subjects considered essential were maths, math literacy, accounting, physical science, life science and English second language.
The extra classes on Saturday were for 276 underperforming schools in Gauteng. Underperforming meant a pass rate of less than 70% for last year's finals.
Creecy said the department was considering holding learning camps for pupils in the future but would not say anything more.
She said Grade 12 learners were the department's main priority and contingency plans would revolve around them.
"I'm very excited about these study booklets and I'm so glad Cosas and the department have looked out for us," one matric student, Quinton Molwelang, said.