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Address at the opening of Ivory Park Secondary School, 24 September 2005, Minister Naledi Pandor speeches


Address by the Minister of Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, MP, at the opening of Ivory Park Secondary School

24 September 2005

Mrs Angie Motshekga
Chairperson of the School Governing Body, Mr Mfeketho
Members of the Governing Body
Principal, Ms E Simbine, teachers, parents, learners

I greet you all (Ngiyanibingelela)

Thank you for inviting me to address you on this very important day. I am always pleased to be part of the celebration of positive achievements in education. More pleased when the achievements emerge form a partnership between government and the people.

I am particularly pleased for this school, which in its very short term of existence has achieved so much. Its growth has been phenomenal. The school has been part of that legacy from the past, the platoon system. The teachers have shown commitment to learners by continuing to offer schooling in such conditions. I am hopeful that we will arrive at a day when all children have access to proper school facilities. Our laws assert and confirm the kind of partnership illustrated by your achievements.

We hope that in the next few months we are going to have celebrations like this one in many other provinces.

We will be celebrating the elimination of schools under trees, of schools without toilets, of schools without water. All provinces have capital building projects underway in our project for eliminating these backlogs. Provinces tell me that it is only in KZN, Limpopo and Mpumulanga that the phenomena of tree schools still remain. But as the Gauteng MEC knows full well, population movements can sometimes be unpredictable, and we need to be vigilant.

The building of this new school serves as a demonstration of government’s commitment to provide quality education for all our children. Quality education has several important implications for quality teachers, dedicated to serve and to learning. Teachers who know that quality means being able to read, write and count. Teachers committed to encouraging learners to love science and maths, to love learning, to love working for success.

Quality also means ensuring the school has the appropriate facilities and resources to support learning – textbooks, a library, a laboratory, e-learning facilities, and chalk. Of course, the existence of these resources requires the community to lend a hand in protecting these resources, in ensuring criminals do not steal our childrens’ opportunity for learning.

Government’s mandate is to create a better life for all our people, not just for some, but for all. Today’s official opening of Ivory Park Secondary School is a pledge redeemed, a promise fulfilled, and a dream come true. I want to congratulate the people of Ivory Park for their patience.

The opening of this school could not have come at a more opportune moment than this year, as we celebrate fifty years of the Freedom Charter. The people and especially the children and teachers of Ivory Park have every reason to celebrate today. Our freedom came about as a result of the resilience, courage, and commitment of our people. Many of our people were prepared to risk everything they had, including their lives.

I urge the teachers and pupils of Ivory Park Secondary School to cherish this school as a resource that will improve the lives of the people in this community. The school will produce entrepreneurs and leaders who will make the people of Ivory Park proud.

I must emphasise to the parents and the community that your involvement in the school is very important. You need to take collective ownership of this school and protect it from being vandalized. No burglary has ever taken place at this school since its inception. Keep it that way.

Some of the pupils here today will write the national senior certificate in 2008. The new certificate, which has been widely welcomed, will be the final nail in the coffin of the old system of standard and higher grades. It will also bring to an end the university exemption system. Instead the new guidelines state that a minimum of 50%-59% (symbol D) in four recognised subjects will be required for university admission, while 39%-49% (symbol E) in four recognised subjects will be required for a technikon place.

But that is the minimum. That is not what you should aim for. In most cases the minimum will not be enough for you to win a place at a university or a technikon.

Matriculants must pass a minimum of seven subjects. The national senior certificate compulsory subject combination requires pupils to have two - and up to four - languages and an additional three to four subjects of their choice. Those minimum pass levels, for tertiary admission, are similar to the ones employed now.

But high scores in English and mathematics will continue to play a big part in whether matriculants are accepted for university study. It is difficult to over-emphasise the importance of numeracy and literacy for achievement in the modern world. We expect more of pupils who study under the new curriculum for grades 10-12. There is no question of a lapse in standards; we are raising the bar for entry into further and higher education.

We also recognise that higher education institutions need to complement the results of the senior certificate with tests of their own.

Remember that higher education may not be the dream for all of you. We are currently redesigning the further education sector to make its offerings more attractive to students and to employers. Those of you who have a vocational bent may find that your aspirations are fulfilled in a FET college and we are doing what we can to make the career choice decisions, which some of you need to make now, easier and better.

In closing, Ivory Park Secondary School must assist in preparing young people for our inclusive democracy. Young people must learn to be responsible members of society through what they are taught at school and through their experience of education. We must ensure that our education teaches positive values to our children, so that they learn the power of respect, respect for teachers, for peers, and particularly respect for girls and women.

With these words, MEC, it is now my privilege to declare Ivory Park Secondary School officially open.

I thank you. (Ngiyabonga)

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 6/30/2008
Number of Views: 858

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