Premier, MECs adopt worst performing schools

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mbombela - Mpumalanga's top government leaders have adopted 31 of the worst performing schools in the province to help improve results.

Premier David Mabuza and 10 MECs made a commitment to visit three schools each twice a month to monitor their progress.

The commitment was made on Thursday during the presentation of the provincial Cabinet Lekgotla outcomes in Mbombela.

"Each MEC (and) the Premier will adopt three...schools from among the 31 worst performing schools and engage the learners and parents at these schools," said Education MEC Regina Mhaule.

Each MEC will inspect infrastructure at these schools and report back to the relevant departments. It has not yet been made clear which MEC will adopt which schools.

Dlamadoda Secondary School in Madadeni village in the Nkomazi area and Bakutswe High School in Marite outside Bushbuckridge were the two worst performing schools, producing an 11% matric pass rate each.

Meanwhile, Mhaule's department also presented the province's new Schooling Transformation and Reform Strategy - Stars - to the provincial Cabinet. The strategy aims to increase the number of learners who qualify for a bachelor entry to university.

Meanwhile, the provincial education department has set aside R475 million to provide food to more than 830 000 pupils in the province.

Tabling the department's R13.9 billion 2012/2013 budget in the provincial legislature this week, MEC Reginah Mhaule said the funding would continue to help pupils who would otherwise go hungry at school.

"Mpumalanga is a rural province. (Statistics) indicate that a majority of our households live below the poverty line and are hungry. This would have a negative impact on the learning process for children who come from these households," said Mhaule.

"To counteract this, 835 444 learners ... will continue to receive a meal each school day through the National School Nutrition Programme. R475 million has been set aside to achieve this."

The MEC said the budget was meant for pupils in primary and secondary schools between Quintile 1 and 3.

She said the nutrition programme would also help 823 schools create and maintain food gardens.

"This will supplement the programme in collaboration with the department of agriculture, rural development and land administration. We urge our schools to ensure that once these gardens have been established they should be maintained," said Mhaule.

The department has further allocated R393 million to help no-fee schools.
"The Mpumalanga province has 1 635 no-fee schools constituting 82% of our schools," Mhaule said.

The MEC further announced a R411 million budget to provide textbooks and stationery in line with the national department's Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. The budget covers textbooks for Grades 4, 5, 6 and 11 and stationery for Grade 12.

"The national Department of Basic Education will continue to deliver lesson plans for Grades R to 9 as well as work books and teacher manuals for Grades 1 to 12," said Mhaule.

She said the department aimed at making sure that learner teach support material (LTSM) for 2013 is at schools by December 15 this year.

"For this deadline to be achieved, I want to make a call to all our schools to comply with the LTSM policy by adhering with the schedule that was sent to them," she said.

The provincial Education Department received R700 million more than the money it was allocated last year.

The department was allocated R13.9 billion for the 2012/2013 financial budget while it received R13.2 billion last year. The R13.2 billion budget was an adjustment to the department's initial R12.9 billion for the 2011/2012 financial year.