All systems go for Limpopo schools

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pretoria - The Limpopo Department of Education has put plans in place to ensure that the beginning of the 2010 academic year gets off to a smooth start tomorrow.

"Indeed plans have been put in place to ensure a smooth 2010 academic year and we are hopeful that we will mark the beginning of this academic year without any glitches," said the department's spokesperson, Ndo Mangala on Tuesday.

Mangala said all schools in the province had received their textbooks and stationery. Last year the department allocated R197 million for textbooks, while a further R140 million was budgeted for stationery.

More than one million learners from the foundation level to Grade 12 were enrolled in September and October last year, although more learners are expected tomorrow.

This year, 71 percent of schools in the province are no-fee schools. A total of 15 000 learners will benefit from the Scholar Transport Programme and more than one million learners will benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

"A total of 1 248 444 learners from 3517 Quintile 1 to 3 primary schools benefit from the NSNP programme. A further 540 Quintile 1 secondary schools also benefit from the programme," explained Mangala.

He however conceded that the province was experiencing a shortage of Maths, Science and Technology teachers. The department is offering bursaries to deserving students who want to pursue careers in teaching, specialising in Maths and Science related fields at the University of Witwatersrand.

Regarding the matric pass rate, which declined by 5.4 percent, Mangala said the department would convene an education indaba as the first step to achieving better results this year.

"During this academic year, all our plans must improve learning and teaching in the classroom. Support to schools through our circuit managers and curriculum advisers will be intensified.

"Monitoring our schools, especially the worst performing ones will be intensified," he said.

As usual, Mbilwi Secondary School retained its 100 percent pass rate in 2009. It was one of the first schools from a previously disadvantaged community to qualify to be a member of "CLUB100".

The school, well-known for passing Maths and Physical Science in Higher Grade, scooped the Best School of the Year Award from the national Department of Education in 2007.