The Director for Rural Education, Dr Phumzile Langa, joined by national and provincial officials, conducted follow up consultative visits to Limpopo and the Eastern Cape Provinces to present the draft Rural Education Policy to various education stakeholders comprising of teachers, school principals, parents, learners, School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and community leaders.
The visits were guided by the recommendation made by the Rural Education Policy Research Team, which was appointed by Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga in 2016, to engage several education stakeholders on the policy development processes to establish a model that will assist schools in rural areas to achieve quality education. The research team was mandated to use a research and consultative based approach to allow the majority of education stakeholders to make the necessary inputs before the Policy is implemented in the Education Sector.
The consultative visits commenced in Sekhukhune, Limpopo Province on 06 March 2018, followed by a two day consultative visit to King Williams Town, Eastern Cape Province from 08 to 09 March 2018. The DBE is organising these visits to gather as much information as possible on the challenges affecting quality learning and teaching in rural schools.
Addressing education stakeholders in the Eastern Cape Province, Dr Langa said: “We came to your province to engage you on the challenges that you are encountering as rural communities.” Dr Langa informed the participants that a Draft Rural Education Policy was gazetted for public comment and added: “We conduct these visits to give education stakeholders an opportunity to express their views on various attributes that can be used to improve quality education in rural schools”.
The Policy will also assist Government to strengthen Agriculture to respond to the changing socio-economic needs of rural communities. Each province must have at least one self-sufficient Agricultural school to empower learners with Agricultural skills. Artistic learners also need to be supported to become professional artists, singers and dancers. “It is recommended that we establish Art in local schools to support gifted learners in the area of entertainment.”
Another issue that was raised during the consultative visit was the recruitment of Mathematics and Science teachers in rural areas. “We need to recruit quality teachers in rural areas and retain those who are already in the sector, so that quality learning and teaching is not compromised.”
During the interactive session, community members said that learners in rural areas need to be exposed to Information Communication and Technology (ICT) to be fully equipped with the necessary skills required for the 21st Century. They also urged Government to improve scholar transport in the province for learners to attend school every day.