Specialist schools to give pupils more opportunities

2014-01-17 00:00

SPECIALIST schools in KwaZulu-Natal focusing on maritime, mining and chemical engineering studies, and agriculture are set to open more doors of opportunities for pupils.

KZN Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni announced yesterday in Ulundi that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is to launch specialist schools to advance skills in the province.

These schools will be pegged at the basic education level.

Nkonyeni was addressing more than 1 000 Zululand District education stakeholders, including school governing bodies, principals, parents, business leaders, and senior educationists deployed in Zululand.

She revealed that some 4 000 girls who registered to write matric last year did not follow through.

“In the context of a high number of teenage pregnancies and other social ills, we will conduct a thorough investigation into the disappearance of these learners in such a crucial year of their schooling life,” she said.

“We need to understand reasons for this high drop-out rate so that we can be better positioned to respond to this particular challenge.”

The MEC is of the view that schools need inspiring, unoffensive names, and referred to a school called Amathanga Etshitshi (literal translation to English means thighs of a virgin girl) as an example.

However, she cautioned that no school be renamed without community approval.

Nkonyeni confirmed that the delivery of school learning materials (workbooks, exercise books and textbooks) in the whole District of Zululand has been completed.

“We can no longer allow below-par performance to dwarf our education system. The worst-case scenario for the Class of 2014 is 80%. We dare not fail,” she said.

She will be visiting all 12 education districts to check on service delivery and to deal with bottlenecks.

“We will as the department visit all districts with a view to listen, support and request input as we are developing a new five-year strategic plan,” she concluded.

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