MEC for Education in the Western Cape: Ms Debbie Schäfer
Local Councillor: Mr Antonio Van der Rheede
School Principal: Mr Reginald Esau
Former School Principal: Ms Jennifer Lodewyk
School Governing Body Chairperson: Ms Maureen Asvoël and other SGB Members
Representative of Christian Religion: Sister Sharon Harris
Representative of Muslim Religion: Shaheed Isaac
Parents and Learners
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Programme Director I am privileged to have an opportunity to be in the province of the Western Cape for the second time in less than a week to officially open yet another state-of-the-art school and hand it over to the jubilant community of Hanover Park.
Last week, I opened another wonderful school in Atlantis, the Wesfleur Primary School.
It is a universal truth that our country has made tremendous progress in the past 21 years. We are proud to say South Africa is a much better place to live in today than it was before 1994.
At the heart of this Good Story is progress in education. We all agree that education is a foundation upon which a thriving society is built. We know that today it is impossible to analyse issues such as racial differences in income, trends in unemployment, or intergenerational transmission of inequality without looking at the role of education.
Education is one of the most significant long-term investments a country can make. It lays the foundation for a higher quality of life, greater employment opportunities and a better-skilled workforce.
Programme Director, there has been a significant increase in education expenditure under the post-apartheid ANC–led democratic government, from R31.8 billion in 1994 to R170 billion in 2012. South Africa has one of the highest rates of government investment in education in the world.
While there has been an improvement in the equity of education funding, inequalities in terms of resources available at public schools remain due to the disparity in households’ ability to supplement the funding of public schools. Secondly, this is due to inherited school infrastructure backlogs hence equity in terms of learner outcomes remains a challenge. Performance in high quintiles still surpasses that of schools in poor quintiles. We are working tirelessly to address these disparities.
In the first few years of democratic rule, through the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), R1.4 billion was allocated for school construction and maintenance between 1995 and 1997. Although, much progress was achieved in these early years, the legacy of apartheid planning persisted for longer than we had anticipated.
Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI)
Hence, in 2009, President Jacob Zuma declared basic education an apex priority. Since then more resources have been ploughed in the sector. The reprioritisation of basic education sector as an apex priority led to the birth of the new build programme dubbed the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).
ASIDI is a public-private programme, and is one of the government's Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs). ASIDI aims to eradicate the 527 "mud schools" in the country, and provide them with the basic amenities such as water, decent sanitation and electricity. By the time we complete this mammoth task we would have provided basic amenities to 1000 schools as part of restoring dignity to our people.
Programme Director, I am glad to report that to-date, the ASIDI programme has delivered 134 State-of-the-Art Schools, (20 of these are here in the Western Cape) 520 provided with water, 395 given decent sanitation and 293 connected to electricity. As a result of improved infrastructure, a higher proportion of younger children are accessing world class classroom facilities.
As a result of improved infrastructure, a higher proportion of younger children are accessing classroom facilities. The impact of ASIDI is far reaching.
Firstly, it is providing infrastructure that exceeds the Minimum Norms and Standards for educational facilities in South Africa. This, in rural and other economically depressed areas, is a significant development for communities who constantly refer to ASIDI schools as ‘universities’.
Secondly, much more than brick and mortar, ASIDI schools are helping to restore dignity and pride for people who had gone far too long deprived of facilities that are taken for granted elsewhere
New and Replacement Schools: More Infrastructure Investment
The Education Infrastructure Grant of R29.6 billion over the medium term will enable all schools to meet the minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure by 2016.
The Basic Education budget also includes R4.1 billion over the MTEF period to build and support public libraries. School and community sport programmes and sports academies will receive R1.7 billion in conditional allocations to provinces.
Features of the new State-of-the-Art Voorspoed Primary School
Programme Director, I am pleased to say in this school alone, we have invested in excess of R120 million to turn Voorspoed Primary School into the state-of-the-art facility that it is today. The new school is home to 920 learners. The new state-of-the-art school boast 28 ordinary classrooms. Most importantly, the school now boast of the following cutting edge facilities - Computer Centre, Science Lab, Library, Book Store, proper sanitation, Refuse Room, Staff Room, New Offices, Parking Area, School Hall, and an equipped kitchen.
Achievements and Projects
Programme Director, I am also pleased that the Voorspoed Primary School has set new standards for an ASIDI School. Through the collaboration with our friends from Canada, this school now has additional resources such as:
- Case workers – Trauma Counsellor and a Reading Co-ordinator
- Karate Club
- Hanover Park Agricultural Greening Project.
- Soul Buddyz Club
Social Cohesion and African Languages
In a bid to cement social cohesion, the Council of Education Ministers has approved a plan for the universal implementation of the Incremental Introduction of African Languages by 2016. It is important to note that this is not a new programme; we started with a pilot programme in 2014 in selected Grade 1 classes. The programme was up scaled to 264 schools during 2015. Preparations are under way for the implementation of (IIAL) in some 3558 schools across all provinces in January 2016.
Integrated School Health Programme
This school is located in a depressed socio-economic community. It is known countrywide for high levels of crime, drugs and gangsterism. We know that daily that parents are always intimidated and fearful of what might happen to them and their children. It is a sad indictment on a community when shootings and gang violence is the norm rather than an exception. Unfortunately, these community challenges impacts negatively on schooling in particular and curriculum delivery in general.
In this regard, the Department has finalised the National Strategy for the Prevention and Management of Drug use in South African Schools and the Drug Testing Guidelines. We strongly appeal to the school management team to engage with this policy and ensure its full implementation.
Beyond, the drug issues, we have also developed the Integrated School Health Programme in conjunction with the departments of Health and Social Development. The policy seeks to address a range of health and social challenges that are faced by young people especially related to sexual and reproductive health.
Some focus areas include HIV, STIs and TB. We will implement a multipronged strategy including advocacy, provision of LTSM, and training of Life Orientation educators amongst others. In this financial year alone; we have procured and distributed 673 647 sets of Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM). These were distributed 16 005 schools. We also had the 2015 target to distribute 17 300 First Aid Kits and refills to schools. The reach of this focal area was 11 118 during February 2015.
In addition we have developed scripted lesson plans for Grades 7-9. The lessons strengthen sexuality and HIV education in the curriculum. Thirty Seven lesson plans have been finalised and are being piloted this year throughout the country.
Lastly, through the support of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), we have secured funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to conduct a follow-up Educator HIV Prevalence Survey, and to implement a novel programme of combination prevention for girls (Keeping Girls in School Programme) in three provinces. We are convinced that these interventions will bring much needed relief to communities such as this one.
In conclusion, I officially declare the Voorspoed Primary School open for business.
I thank you!