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Minister Motshekga meets with District Directors to set the tone for 2019

The Minister of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga has once again spoken about the migration of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) function from the Department of Social Development to the DBE. Both Minister Motshekga and President Cyril Ramaphosa have spoken about the migration of ECD.

Minister Motshekga brought up the ECD migration as she delivered her speech at the first meeting with District Directors for 2019 at the DBE in Pretoria. The meeting, held from 21 to 22 February, took place under the theme: “From the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the classroom”.

Minister Motshekga said: “If one expects to harvest, one also has to prepare the soil”. Director for ECD, Ms Marie-Louise Samuels gave a presentation on the relocation of ECD to the DBE, saying that the curriculum, teacher development, Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM), setting and assessment are issues that require further deliberation.

Other matters under discussion were Early Grade Reading and the launch of the National Reading Coalition; the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative; and the roll-out of Information Communication and Technology (ICTs) in South African schools. “All systems have been put in place; we must now turbo-charge the sector for improved education outcomes,” the Minister concluded.

Director-General for Basic Education, Mr Mathanzima Mweli reflected on the highlights of President Ramaphosa’s SONA saying that, “South Africans must have access to an Education and Training System of the highest quality by 2030.

He said that it was important for the Department to improve learning outcomes and performance to be comparable to the performance of learners from other countries at a similar level of development with similar levels of access.

“During the next three years, districts must assist the Department to ensure that 80% of Bachelors are obtained in Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools. The education system should develop and improve the skills that are needed now and into the future,” said Mweli.

He emphasized the need for the Three Stream Model to increase participation in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST), focusing on schools of aviation, maritime, ICT and the arts, as well as converting existing schools into Technical High Schools and Schools of Skill”. Mweli then spoke about the role of the District Director’s meeting.

The main objective of the forum is to provide a platform for districts to share information on what works, as well as the persistent challenges faced on a daily basis. Presentations were made by all nine provinces on the reflections of the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) district and subject actual performance. The strategies that worked were also shared, including how these could be strengthened.

The highlight of the meeting was experiences shared by District Directors from Vhembe East (Limpopo Province), Sedibeng East (Gauteng Province) and Fezile Dabi (Free State Province) on improving overall district, circuit, school and learner performance. The presentations were a confirmation of the network of collaboration that has evolved from the forum.

District Directors had the opportunity to engage in commissions to deal with Basic Education Sector key extracts from the SONA such as sanitation facilities; ECD; laying solid foundations for learning; and preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

“The mandate of this forum is to forge networks; share information; learn from best practice; and grow in a community of education professionals who lead the charge to turn the education system around. Our aim is to prioritise interventions that worked in the 75 districts during 2018, and to improve on and to outperform our previous best,” said DDG for Planning and Delivery Oversight, Mrs Palesa Tyobeka, in closing.

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