Gauteng tackles literacy, numeracy in primary schools

Monday, September 7, 2009

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Education has embarked on a five-year strategy to tackle the underperformance of primary school learners in literacy and numeracy in the province.

Education MEC, Barbara Creecy, said the strategy would seek to address many causes of the underperformance, reports the Gauteng Provincial Government.

"The strategy will entail an intensive full time teacher development programme for all foundation phase literacy and numeracy teachers for anything up to six months," said Creecy, briefing the media on the Gauteng Provincial Government's 100 Days of Office.

To ensure that learners were not disadvantaged by the long absence of their teachers; a high quality substitute teacher programme is currently being developed, the MEC added.

This turnaround strategy will be piloted in three districts, namely Johannesburg Central, Ekurhuleni South and Tshwane North, spanning across 362 schools. "Over the next few years this turnaround project will be rolled out across all 15 districts extending across all phases of primary and secondary education," said Creecy.

She said the department's anticipated outcome would be improved learner performances in primary school and thereafter high schools as well.

It is also expected that better school management, focused on teaching and learning and more effective school governance and accountability, will be achieved.

She noted that in the past 100 days, the department had successfully completed the process of School Governing Body elections.

"We are currently busy with the 2010 schools admissions which will close at the end of the month. All efforts have been made to ensure that this message reaches people across the province," she said.

With the matric exams for 2009 commencing on 26 October, Creecy said the department was confident that all requirements for a successful exam were in place.

Furthermore, she announced that the non-payment of teachers, ABET and Grade R practitioners had been rectified. As of the end of this month, payments for Early Childhood Development practitioners will be made via the state payroll system, PERSAL.

With regard to Merafong Municipality, Creecy said the integration of schools had been smooth. Repairs to schools damaged during the protests have already started and extra matric intervention programmes are also being rolled out.

In Gauteng, 823 238 learners in 1 016 schools are now benefiting from the government's no-fee school policy. That is just over 65 percent of all learners in the province