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Deputy Minister Mhaule mobilises education stakeholders to support underperforming schools in the Mpumalanga Province

The national intervention support programmes aimed at improving learning outcomes, focusing on underperforming schools across all nine provinces, will be intensified during the 2023 school calendar. Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Dr Reginah Mhaule hosted the Circuits Improvement Celebratory Engagement with education officials at White Hazy Circuit 1 and 2 in the Mpumalanga Province, to honour top performing educators and school principals. Deputy Minister Mhaule hosted the event at the Ingwenyama Conference and Sport Resort in Nelspruit on 13 May 2023, as part of her School Monitoring and Oversight Visit Programme across provinces. The Deputy Minister initially visited the district during the 2022 school calendar as she monitored school readiness. During her visit, it was revealed that the two circuits were facing a serious decline in academic performance and she therefore adopted these circuits and continued to work closely with various education officials at provincial and district level. During the release of the 2022 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results, the two circuits emerged as the most improved circuits in the province, obtaining a high number of distinctions and bachelor passes.

The Deputy Minister’s engagement was extended to Kamhlushwa Primary School in Malelane Sub-District on 15 May 2023, where she met with various education stakeholders including traditional leaders, district officials, school principals and learners. Dr Jabulani Ndlovu, Acting District Director for the Malelane Sub-District, indicated that he was not satisfied with the performance of various circuits within his district since the majority of them have underperformed during 2022. “Nkomazi East faced a 16% drop from the 2021 NSC results to 60.2%, whilst eight schools in Nkomazi East, Malalane and Lebombo performed below 70%. The performance rate of schools with once good performance records such as Sophungane, Mjokwane and Khula Secondary Schools also declined to below 70%. As a district, we are working hard to improve learning outcomes in these schools and will be conducting learner support programmes such as weekend classes, winter and spring camps and last push matric support programmes, to assist teachers in intensifying curriculum coverage in various learning areas”.

Chief Director for District Co-ordination in the Mpumalanga Province, Mr Manyabeane, explained that the province has established strong partnerships with the private sector to improve learning outcomes. “These include our partnership with Penreach, which assists School Management Teams (SMTs) in 20 schools around Insikazi, Malelane and Khulangawane through the Courageous Leadership Development Programme.  We are also partnering with Protec, to support gifted 250 Grades 8 12 learners in English, Mathematics and Science in Mbombela. Kutloanong Mathematics Centre and Investec are also running a Mathematics and Science programme to support 340 Grades 10 12 learners from 12 Insikazi FET schools.  We are proud to announce that the NECT has provided much needed support to FET teachers responsible for the subjects in 42 schools in 4 circuits. In preparation for the examination, all education districts will be encouraged to organise Saturday classes and spring camps for circuits and schools performing below 80%. We have also decided to host a camp for 200 talented learners enrolled for Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences”.

“We will need to engage regularly to improve the quality of education in this district. Our learners should be given adequate support to obtain distinctions and bachelor passes in the upcoming NSC Examinations. However, we will have to do things differently to improve academic performance. We might be required to strengthen existing partnerships and cooperation with communities, parents, SGB members and officials responsible for the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) at national and provincial level. I am impressed by the level of engagement demonstrated during my visit and I would like to extend my gratitude to provincial and district senior officials for their support. We can only do better if we work together,” concluded Deputy Minister Mhaule.

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