Pretoria - A total of 439 public and private schools in Gauteng will this year participate in the Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP).
Gauteng MEC for Education Barbara Creecy said the department had reviewed the 2011 matric results and made changes in the programme; these included 439 priority schools, 73 of which are independent and 366 public schools, to participate in SSIP. This is 48 more schools compared to last year.
Other changes included plans for about nearly 47 000 Grade 12 and 100 000 Grade 10 and 11 learners to benefit from the programme.
Creecy said the department had looked at what contributes to learners failing exams in Grade 12. In 2012, additional classes would also be held for Grade 12 learners who are struggling in Maths, Physical Science, Accounting, Economics and Geography.
"Each public school in SSIP will offer these classes and we expect each of the Grade 12 learners selected for these extra classes to attend every class.
"These 'intensive care' classes are not open to all learners and so it is important that those learners who are selected attend and must make good use of the sessions. We want principals and parents to make sure this happens," Creecy said during the SSIP launch on Saturday.
Another new and important element of SSIP will be a support programme for Grade 8 and 9 learners, who will also participate in a programme during the April holidays.
Support in Maths, Natural Science and Economics and Management Science will be offered for Grade 9 learners, who will also participate in a special career day in September.
"We will help learners to begin to plan for life after school and to understand how to correctly choose subjects for Grade 10 accordingly. We will hold exam preparation camps for Grade 12 learners before the end of year exams and will again offer motivational talks and computer classes for learners," said Creecy.
She urged learners and teachers to play their part and commit themselves to 100 percent attendance at every SSIP session during summer and winter.
"Principals need to manage their schools' participation in SSIP. Each principal is responsible for ensuring that every learner and each selected teacher participates and that appropriate action is taken where attendance is less than 100 percent.
"Teachers who are invited to training must be at each training session on time and for the duration of the training. Parents need to ensure that their children use the opportunity properly and we will be keeping in contact with parents so that we oversee this together."
Creecy warned that this year, the department will closely monitor attendance by learners from each school and will hold principals, parents and learners accountable where they see a drop in attendance.