Plan for targeted support for low performing schools announced

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mbombela – Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has announced that in the next financial year, a comprehensive improvement plan intended to provide targeted support to schools that performed below 50 percent in the Grade 12 examinations will be implemented.

Speaking at the State of the Province Address at the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature in Mbombela on Friday morning, Mabuza said despite the many successes in education in the province, more still needed to be done to reduce the number of schools obtaining less than 50% pass rate.

“Poor performance at this level is the key indicator of dysfunctionality at governance, leadership and operational levels. These schools require urgent interventions to ensure that they improve their performance.”

Other key interventions to better teaching and learning will include the capacitation of teachers on curriculum content and delivery; allocating suitable mentors to the schools; providing on-site curriculum support per subject at least once per quarter, including the provision of teaching and learning resources and subjecting Grade 12 learners to common monthly tests.

Most importantly, said the premier, all principals, curriculum implementers and subject heads will now be held accountable for performance.

“Everyone must put their shoulders to the wheel to deliver better results. If these schools continue to under-perform, there will be consequences,” emphasised Premier Mabuza.

To further address the scarce skills of maths and science, a Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy will be established in the province. This Academy will have four satellite hubs that are linked to 100 schools in the four districts of the province.

The fully-equipped academy will provide an in-service learning platform for maths and science teachers to enhance their teaching skills. It will link to satellite hubs through which it will provide direct support to schools to ensure that learners have access to relevant learning material, equipment and e-learning technologies.

“Through this academy, the province is hoping to increase output in maths and science at Grade 12 level in order to have a bigger pool of learners who will follow maths and science related careers at tertiary level,” said Mabuza.

He said provincial government’s aspirations to build a great nation must be anchored in an education system that empowers every child and every household to break the shackles of social deprivation and create limitless opportunities for everyone to realise their full development potential.

Over the last three years, the province has worked to implement programmes intended to provide access to quality education and improve overall learner performance across all grades.

Key interventions within the province include strengthening efforts to improve school governance and leadership to create a better environment for quality teaching and learning and particular attention was paid to enhancing learner performance in Mathematics and Physical Science.

Various support programmes were established to help turn around underperforming schools. These have already begun to impact positively on the overall Grade 12 pass rate in the province.

In the past three years, Grade 12 performance has increased from 47.9% in 2009 to 70% in 2012. This indicated that a total of 32 807 young people in the province obtained their National Senior Certificates in 2012. Of these, 9 495 met the requirements of the Bachelor programmes at higher education institutions. 

The province also showed an improvement of 11 percent in physical sciences’ passes. The pass percentage moved from 52.2 percent in 2011 to 63.2 percent in 2012; which saw Mpumalanga move upwards as compared with the performance of other provinces in this subject. Mathematics passes also moved from 46.2 percent in 2011 to 53.1 percent in 2012.

The ‘No Fees School’ policy was implemented in 1635 schools to benefit learners from poor households. A total of 873 957 poor learners from both primary and secondary schools are benefitting from the School Nutrition programme. Access to Early Childhood Development has also increased.

Further to this, Mabuza said learner support material had been delivered on time to all schools.

“Our overall assessment shows that our comprehensive response to the education system challenges has placed the province on the right path to deliver quality education outcomes,” the premier said. –