Address by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, MP, at Volkswagen’s adoption of Bokgoni Technical High School, Wednesday, 14 January 2009, Pretoria.
“Adopt a dinaledi school”
VWSA Managing Director, Mr David Powels
The school principal, Mr Mathopa
staff, parents and learners
ladies and gentlemen!
It’s a pleasure to join you today.
I would like to welcome you all back to school today. Today, 14 January 2009, is the official opening of schools in the inland provinces. Schools in the coastal provinces open on 21 January.
I ask each of you to start studying today. Get busy with your schoolwork immediately, and remember practice makes perfect. So, practice what you learn. This is the best recipe for obtaining the best results in your studies.
Don’t let a day pass without reading your books and learning new concepts.
Don’t allow a day to pass without making one calculation that teaches you a new way of working with numbers.
I hope teachers have returned to school refreshed, and parents aren’t simply thankful that the holidays are over. Don’t think you can simply hand your children over to their teachers! Take an active interest in the education of your children.
Motivate your children to understand the good values and standards that will help shape their future prospects.
We can all achieve when we work together, with each of us playing a role in education.
In other words, be concerned when your child does not attend school regularly.
Guide young children when they go off track.
In government, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide quality education to enrich the lives of our children and to give them a better chance to qualify for a better job.
Set goals that will serve as a yardstick against which we measure our progress as we strengthen the achievement of quality outcomes in education.
The challenges that we face require hard work from all. Government cannot overcome these challenges alone. We need the support of stakeholders and partners.
In particular, we need companies to adopt Dinaledi schools - to mobilize technical support and expertise for the development of mathematics and science.
I’m pleased that Volkswagen SA has decided to support our schools.
I’m especially pleased that Volkswagen SA has decided to adopt not one but three Dinaledi schools in Gauteng.
Thank you for the support you are providing Bokgoni Technical High School.
By the way, Bokgoni Technical High School is not only a Dinaledi school. It also offers technical subjects that are critical in contributing to the training of young people in scarce skills.
As you know, we need to expand maths and science success. We need to increase the number of engineers, doctors, chartered accountants and other professionals in order to strengthen our competitiveness and enhance development. All these objectives require high competency in mathematics.
Therefore, we decided to introduce mathematics as a compulsory subject in grades 4 to 9 and in grades 10 to 12 every learner is expected to take either mathematics or mathematical literacy.
For the first time in our history, all learners in school now do some form of mathematics.
In 2005 we set our schools a target of 50,000 grade 12 learners passing Mathematics at the equivalent of higher grade in 2008.
In the 2008 NSC examinations 63,000 passed at over 50%.
Moreover, our Dinaledi schools made a valuable contribution to the number of these successful learners. Dinaledi schools comprise only 7% of all schools, but contributed 24% of the 63,000 high-level Mathematics passes.
The performance of Dinaledi schools will be kept under review to ensure that the intervention continues to yield positive outcomes.
In an effort to strengthen public-private collaboration the department developed an “adopt-a-school” framework document.
The document sets our possible areas of collaboration between partners. The partnership is not about the giving of money. The best “adopt a school” arrangements also involve tutoring and mentoring.
Those two elements – tutoring and mentoring - can turn the adoption of a school into a firm commitment that will change the lives of children and teachers forever.
There is also the possibility of benefiting from the expertise of non-specialist teachers, teachers who are working in industry: like engineers, technicians, and car makers.
We are vigorously promoting this partnership programme in an effort to encourage the private sector to adopt and work with schools in achieving positive education goals.
In closing, I would like to say a few words to the learners here today.
Learners, you’ll find, like many others across the world, that regular and secure jobs are no longer a feature of the world of work.
For you to succeed and survive in the workplace, you continually need to upgrade your skills and take responsibility for your own development.
Jobs increasingly favour those educated to think critically and those who know how to learn. With each generation, such workers are more likely to adapt to our knowledge-driven society than those trained to execute specific skills.
Competence in maths opens up access to a range of disciplines, encourages curiosity and promotes the search for new knowledge. Competence in mathematics is essential for entrepreneurs, financial analysts, statisticians, accountants and engineers.
Today, all careers call for a basic knowledge in mathematics and science. On a daily basis we are all forced to make decisions using our knowledge of mathematics and science.
I’m delighted to have been here to applaud Volkswagen for taking up the mathematics, science and technology challenge.
I hope that many more companies follow your excellent example.
Every citizen of our country must make a contribution, however small, to education so that we may build a numerate, literate and technologically advanced society.