Ms Nompumelelo Madisa, Group CEO–designate, Bidvest Group
Mr Madoda Mxakwe, SABC Group CEO,
Mr Ian Plaatjies, SABC Group COO,
Ms Aletta Alberts, Executive Head of Content Strategy & Third-Party Channels for Africa, Multichoice,
Mr Khalik Sherrif eMedia Investments CEO
Mr Antonio Lee, eMedia Investments COO
Mr Godwin Khosa, CEO, NECT
Mr Enoch Rabotapi, Basic Education, Chief Director
It is an honour and a privilege to rise and speak at this auspicious occasion, namely the Woza Matrics 2020 Catch up Campaign. The unique nature of this catch-up programme signals the possibility of a new basic education social compact post-COVID-19 to address some of the binding constraints in our basic education.
There’s no doubt that the Matric Class of 2020 has faced unprecedented disruptions to their schooling and learning schedules since March 2020. Due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown, SA’s 13 million learners, including some 1.2 million matriculants have fallen behind on the curriculum coverage, and they risk severe skills deficiency well beyond 2030 if no catch programme succeed. It will require a collective effort to mitigate this enormous calamity.
It is within this context that today we launch this unique partnership to provide academic support to the Class of 2020. Most importantly, of these Matric learners, about 400 000 are Second Chance Matric learners. The innovative Woza Matrics 2020 Catch up Campaign is to provide exam preparation support to all matriculants. We would also provide much-needed guidance on managing stress and anxiety, thus promoting the well-being of our learners.
The Woza Matrics 2020 Catch up Campaign will be coming live on a television channel near you.
This ladies and gentlemen mean four-hours of dedicated free to air broadcast curriculum content for matriculants every day from the 1st September 2020 to the 30th November 2020. The broadcast channels include SABC3, all the DSTV broadcast packages and Open View Channel, 122. We would broadcast mostly priority subjects during this time. There would also be interactive exam preparation lessons during and after the upcoming school holidays.
Programme Director, the Catch-Up Campaign has sourced high-quality curriculum content from a range of content providers who donated their content to us, free of charge. Some of these content providers include Digi-Campus, SABC, the Western Cape Education Department’s Telematics Programme, Mindset Africa, and Monyetla Trust. We are sincerely grateful to all the content providers for their support.
At the same time, Programme Director, please allow me also to extend our sincere gratitude to all the broadcast partners. It warms my heart that this beautiful collaborative amongst all the broadcasters is to support the national public good, the future of our Class of 2020. I want to extend our special gratitude to the SABC for being the anchor channel, and for investing time energy and resources in support of this innovative academic Catch-up Campaign. We extend our thanks to Multichoice for making WOZA Matrics available on all DSTV packages.
Our gratitude also extends to eMedia Investments for making WOZA Matrics available on Openview, and for repeating the broadcast schedule so that more learners can access the lessons at their preferred times.
We also thank our sponsors, including Bidvest, Satrix, for providing support to PILO, an essential partner of the National Education Collaboration Trust, (NECT).
Beyond our borders, we extend our thanks to UNICEF, for supporting the production of psycho-social support videos for this programme.
As we know by now, this Campaign targets learners like Ms Noncedo Gumede, who has spoken very eloquently and passionately about her challenges. She is a dynamic young woman who speaks on behalf of all her peers, the Class of 2020, especially the young girls. Thank you, Noncedo. We have listened carefully to you and the challenges you face. We hope this collaborative effort offers real help that you and your peers need at this difficult time. We will be in regular contact with you and your peers through our monitoring and evaluation unit.
Programme Director, there is an Ethiopian saying that says, when spider webs unite, they can entangle a lion. We hope that our collaborative partnership in this project will ensnare the beast that represents lost learning time, thus going a long way in mitigating the risks posed by these uncertain times of COVID-19 pandemic.
Programme Director, we need to focus more on long-term strategies to accelerate quality in the delivery of primary education. Not to undercut the importance of focusing our efforts on increasing both the numbers and quality of passes in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, (STEM). At the same time, we can’t afford to take our eyes off the ball, about the needs of our learners to acquire new skills for the professions that are yet to be born, what is currently known as Skills for a Changing World. All these complementary, if not conflicting priorities require human capital, ingenuity, and solid partnerships.
As Government, our capacity is constrained due to the prevailing low economic growth and falling tax revenues. Like never before, we need partners to augment not just the technical aspect of our work, but also to become part of the thinking pack. We need new ideas. We need new implementing agents that have the digital savvy to roll-out educational programmes at a fraction of the current costs. We need warm bodies to rethink and adapt the public education for the changing times. It can no longer be business as usual.
Programme Director, there’s emerging consensus that the advent of COVID-19 has highlighted the existing great divide between the rich and poor. Between the resource-rich suburbs and countryside resource-starved areas. Between those who have access to the WI-FI network and those without access.
Unfortunately, the marker of the modern-day disadvantage is no longer race, but class. Sadly, in our country, the majority of the low-income people and deprived communities consists mainly of the black and female population. According to the World Economic Forum COVID Action Platform, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown socio-economic inequalities into sharp relief. From access to healthcare and green spaces, and to work and education. We cannot allow these disparities to persist, a day longer. We need to build a new economy. We need to advance the agenda of the shared value of any economic gains.
Finally, and on behalf of our people, we profusely thank all our partners and sponsors for this singular investment into the Class of 2020. This isn't about individual companies or I claiming glory for yet another service delivery milestone. Still, our collective actions today would save a generation from unavoidable skills deficiency as a result of lost contact time. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been seized with this matter of rescuing the academic year. Thus, it seems we may pull it as a collective.
I, thank you.