The MEC of Education, MacCollen Jack (pictured below) presented the department’s budget on Wednesday, where he laid out the ways in which the Department has improved from previous years as far back as 2003 in certain cases. With the Department of Education being one of the two most focal areas that the Northern Cape Premier has set out to improve, we wait with baited breathe to see how the theories get put into practice.
The department received a qualified audit report for the financial year of 2018/19 on lawsuits, infrastructure, procurement, expenditure management and immovable tangible capital assets. Disciplinary steps will be taken against officials who have incurred unauthorized irregular and fruitless expenditure.
R47 million has been allocated for the 2019/20 financial year for 546 schools to procure their own learning and teaching materials. As South Africa is known for having a reading problem, the department has assisted in ensuring that the reading culture is grown in the province by increasing the number of reading clubs in primary schools from 84 in 2018 to 101 in 2019.
As a means to better the cultural knowledge of language among learners in schools, the number of schools offering an African language have increased from 101 to 192 in 2019. All schools are said to be implementing an African language in grade 1 and 86 schools out of 192 are also implementing the languages in grade 2 and 3.
According to MEC Jack, finding parents not only standing, but sleeping outside schools in an attempt to find children placement in schools will also be coming to an end as the online admission system will be introduced in 2020. This will hopefully make the school enrollment process quicker and easier for many parents trying to secure a spot for their children.
R219 million has been allocated for no fees schools which represent 74.73% of schools in the province. 70.4% learners exceed the national prescribed percentage by 8.74%. This represents 118/138 schools.
• 26 517 learners have been exempted from paying for 2018/19
• For 2019/20 R12 million has been allocated for 27 000 learners.
The department went into a memorandum of understanding with the Central South University of Forestry and Technology in Hunan province in China, where three students are currently studying towards a Bachelor Degree of International Economics and Trade.
Five students from the Northern Cape will in 2020 be trained as Nama Educators at the University of Namibia.
Coding will be introduced as a subject in public schools in 2020 for foundation phase. The department plans to invest in the multi-purpose interactive learning laboratories to help in exposing youth to 3D modeling simulations, reality and interactive charts.
Learners and teachers will be given extraordinary workshops which will focus on;
• Teacher development
• Whole-day school teaching
• Lock-in sessions where learners will be incubated from Friday 16:00 to Sunday 12:00.
The department will be piloting code and robotics as subjects to 100 primary schools in the Frances Baard and Pixley Ka Seme Districts in 2020. 20 schools have already been identified for the pilot training of economic management science teachers for grade 7-9 into employability and entrepreneurship education.
• Three technical schools will be refurbished and adequately resourced to be able to compete with other modern technical institutions.
• The Marine Science curriculum will be introduced in 2020 at Port Nolloth High School.
• Northern Cape Department of Education has decided to pay special attention to chronically under performing schools in an effort to ensure that no school achieves less than 75% in the 2019 National Senior Certificate.
The total budget for independent schools increased from R9.6 million in 2018/19 to R10.8 million in 2018. With regard to early childhood development, enrollment of grade R learners has increased from 16 307 in 2014 to 20 000 in 2019.
The practitioners stipend has increased from R500 for those with ECD NQF level 4-5 to R6500 and practitioners at REQV 13 and above are paid R8009 through PERSAL.
The department plans to develop 9 schools with adequate electricity, 7 schools with adequate water and 14 schools will receive upgrades and additional sanitation safety.
159 schools have been trained on the protocol on management of sexual abuse and harassment in schools. The provincial school safety summit will be held on the 20th of September in Kimberley.