Remarks during the Media Launch of Oversight Visits to Schools and Provinces/Districts by Ms Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education National Office, Pretoria: 10 May 2010
Let me start by thanking esteemed members of the media for braving the morning chill to be here with us. We thought it appropriate to share with you our plan to undertake a series of oversight visits to various schools, across provinces and districts, starting tomorrow, Tuesday 11 May.
The purpose of the visits is multi-pronged. In keeping with our oversight and monitoring role, we are interested in getting first-hand information on what the schools and provinces are doing to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
You are all aware of the current challenges facing our education system. Some of these have been reflected by the performance of learners in the last national examinations.
Among other targets, we have set ourselves the task of improving Grade 12 results, and have committed to having 175 000 learners, up from the current 105 000, passing their national examinations and qualifying for a bachelors programme, by 2014.
Our planned visits will afford us the opportunity to assess, inter alia , the schools' programmes for the winter break; preparations for mid-year assessment; infrastructure plans; curriculum delivery plans, and where applicable, we will evaluate progress made around district reorganisation.
In the context of national government's new approach to public participation, our visit to schools, wherein we will interact with learners, educators, principals, teacher unions and members of School Governing Bodies, will assist us in reaching out to key education stakeholders and communities.
In short, oversight visits will serve to provide insight on what is to be done better to achieve our envisaged ‘turn-around' of education. We have to consider, seriously, the alignment of provincial priorities with our national priorities.
We are grateful to have among us partners from the corporate sector who have shown interest in the goal of delivering a better life for all our people, using quality education as a weapon.
I'm happy you've had the opportunity of meeting the young and daring Ambassador of Basic Education, Thurston Sebotsane, who's here with us. We were actually moved by the selfless initiative he took, of going out, on a motorbike, to inspire and motivate our learners and educators in schools, across the length and breadth of our country.
For practical and logistical reasons, I will lead the team that will visit these Provinces: Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The Deputy Minister will cover the following Provinces: Free State, Northern Cape, North West, and Gauteng.
Given the time we spend in Cape Town, when Parliament is in session, we felt it fitting to split visits to schools in the Western Cape between the two of us – myself and our Honourable Deputy Minister, Enver Surty.
We have put measures in place, to ensure that these oversight visits do not turn into mere public relations exercises. For instance, we have tasked our Whole School Evaluation team and the National & Provincial Coordination unit to plan thoroughly for all visits.
For purposes of support and resources, we will also draw on expertise from officials based in our provinces, especially those colleagues who have produced excellent work on Whole School Evaluation.
Accordingly, we invite all of you, cordially, to participate in these vital visits. We cannot afford to lose sight of the important role you play, as the media, in informing and educating our people. In this regard, as you know very well, you are an important partner in our quest to educate the people.
It is only through approaching education as a societal issue that we can successfully reverse the tide of illiteracy, joblessness, crime, underdevelopment and poverty.
It is my firm belief that together we can do more to deliver quality basic education. Feel free to talk to our Media Liaison Officer for more information on specific schools and provinces we plan to visit.
I thank you.