Learner placement on track for 2019

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With just over a month to go until 2019, the Basic Education Department (DBE) has confirmed that preparations for the new school year are on track, with the majority of learners already placed in schools.

This was revealed during a briefing by the department to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the state of readiness for the 2019 school year.

Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty led a team of senior officials from the department to brief the committee on Tuesday.

He told the Portfolio Committee members that the department had made significant progress in preparing schools for next year.

The Deputy Director-General for Planning and Delivery Oversight, Palesa Tyobeka, told the committee that learner admissions is one of the tests for school readiness.

“Unpreparedness for the placement of learners in time has a negative effect on the start of the schooling programme,” she said.

Tyobeka said the 2019 admission preparations in all provinces have improved because admissions are conducted in line with the approved business process for learner admissions.

Final placement lists are set to be finalised by the end of November.

Parents not responding on time when requested to accept placement and duplications caused by parents applying to more than one school were just some of the challenges cited as stumbling blocks to learner placement.

The packaging process of stationery and textbooks is underway and the delivery to schools has been scheduled for 15 October to 30 November 2018.

School furniture 

Most provinces report that funding is a challenge as the demand for school furniture always exceeds supply.

KwaZulu-Natal, for instance, has no allocation for school furniture and schools purchase furniture from their allocations.

“Most of the needs identified are for replacement of furniture. The uptake on the programme to rehabilitate old furniture by provinces is very low. In addressing this, guidelines have been finalised to guide the provision of school furniture, including repair and rehabilitation,” the department said.

Sanitation 

At the provincial level, 1 557 sanitation projects are at implementation stage and 653 have reached practical completion. At Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), 942 sanitation projects are being implemented and 632 have reached practical completion.

  • All pit toilets and demolitions are set to be addressed in by the end of 2019/20 financial year;
  • Re-organisation of funding has taken place to address sanitation challenges, especially for the Education Infrastructure Grant; and
  • Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) to reprioritise infrastructure plans to address sanitation.

Infrastructure implementation plans are in place and projects are at different stages of implementation.

  • Mobile classrooms to be provided to respond to demographic shifts and population movements;
  • Plans to respond to storm damage and related incidents are in place to ensure that learning and teaching is not affected when schools reopen;
  • Campaigns on cleaning of schools prior to reopening of schools will be undertaken;
  • Piloting social franchising for operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities in schools; and
  • Extend the pilot project with the Water Research Commission on cleanliness of toilets to 3 000 schools.


Teacher provisioning

The provision of teachers for each class and each subject remains a challenge in some of the persistently problematic areas:

  • Shortage of teachers for critical subjects particularly at FET level;
  • Shortage of adequately qualified/trained teachers in the Foundation Phase;
  • Inability to attract quality teachers for schools in rural and farm areas; and
  • Failure to attract and deploy quality teachers for the Senior Phase despite challenges of quality in Graduates.
     

The matching and placement of Funza Lushaka graduates in posts should be finalised by the end of December 2018.

Learners without identity documents 

Learners without identity documents were noted as a concern, despite a number of provinces reporting a decline in the phenomenon.

The DBE said there is a need to strengthen initiatives that focus quite strongly on learners of parents who are in the country illegally.

These learners can only be provisionally registered and after three months, principals have to release them to avoid prosecution. – SAnews.gov.za

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