Schools must be furnished - Motshekga

2013-08-06 21:18
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pretoria - All South African pupils should be equipped with the requisite furniture in schools, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday.

"At the [Council of Education Ministers (CEM)], we said provinces should strive to have a chair and a desk for every child," she said in Pretoria.

Provincial education departments had been instructed to submit their furniture requirements to the national authorities by 16 August.

Motshekga was holding a briefing on developments in the education sector, particularly relating to the curriculum

She said the CEM had adopted a new curriculum for Early Childhood Development, which was in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan.

"The CEM also discussed schools readiness. We normally look at schools readiness [for the following year] in the fourth term, but this time we did it in the third term," she said.

"We agreed, as the department, to continue to closely monitor the nature of support required by provincial education departments."

Motshekga said her department had a strategy to increase the use of African languages in schools, and to strengthen the teaching of English as a first additional language.

Two studies and the matric results highlighted the negative effect of poor English competence on pupils' performance, and the need to improve the quality of English teaching and learning.

"As a result, from 2012, all children intending to learn through the medium of English began instruction in this language from Grade 1 level.

"The department is looking at addressing the quality of English teaching, working with the British Council," she said.

Regarding the increased use of African languages in schools, Motshekga said the department supported a pilot initiative to be implemented in 10 schools per district next year.

"Afrikaans, fortunately or unfortunately, qualifies. It is an indigenous language and just happens to fit quite squarely. Even the Afrikaans language cultural groups thought we were going to leave Afrikaans out.

"It squarely fell in the definition. We have not discriminated against Afrikaans. It will be considered as one of the languages that we say schools have to teach as part of African languages," she said.

Zille’s support

Earlier, Motshekga said Western Cape Premier Helen Zille understood the problems bedevilling the South African education sector.

She appreciated Zille's efforts to clarify the problems in the sector.

"It shows the highest levels of integrity in terms of inter-government relations," said Motshekga.

Last month, Zille told a DA Young Professionals forum she was an "unlikely defender" of the minister, because the real problems leading to poor education results in South Africa had been diagnosed under Motshekga.

A recent National Education Evaluation and Development Unit report commissioned by Motshekga found poor discipline was why pupils failed.

Zille said no other minister before Motshekga had been willing to provide the space for such a report to be produced.

In her newsletter, Zille said she supported Motshekga's critique of the norms and standards campaign for school infrastructure, based on a 2008 draft published by her predecessor Naledi Pandor.

Read more on:    helen zille  |  angie motshekga  |  education

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