Mpuma pupils hard at work

2010-06-18 20:56

Nelspruit - It may be school holidays, but 35 000 Grade 12 pupils in Mpumalanga will attend 15 days of winter school classes from Monday to July 9.

The winter classes are mandatory for all public schools that had a pass rate of less than 30% in last year's exam.

Department of Education spokesperson Jasper Zwane said: "The intention of these classes is to consolidate what has been taught and learned to date and to assist learners in dealing with difficult subject areas."

He said these classes would be taught by teachers who had at least a 70% pass rate in their respective subjects in last year's matric exam.

"We've had an overwhelming response from teachers who were prepared to help," said Zwane.

"Consultations with teacher unions, principals, school governing bodies and learners took place beforehand and ensured active involvement and buy-in."

The classes will be conducted at 113 schools, with two in each school circuit to make it easier for children without transport.

"In Bushbuckridge, the department will provide transport for pupils, and in the Gert Sibande district, a vast area with many small schools, we have decided to accommodate about 2 000 in boarding schools. 

“They will stay there for the duration of the winter classes," said Zwane.

He said the dial-a-tutor programme to provide support to learners who might experience challenges while studying at home would also be operational from Monday.

"Learners and parents can dial the department's toll-free number, 0800 203 116, to get in touch with a curriculum specialist who will give guidance on the spot. We urge all learners to take advantage of this opportunity. We will also distribute educational tutorials and DVDs to schools."

Mpumalanga last year had the lowest matric pass rate in South Africa at 47.9%, down from 51.8% the previous year.