The department of basic education (DBE) has embarked on ‘Provincial Oversight and Monitoring Programme’ to bolster school preparedness ahead of the final examinations after the Covid 19 severely disrupted teaching and learning. Learners are busy with the trial examinations with the final Grade 12 scheduled for the first week of November.
Department deployed two high-ranking officials, namely, director-general Hubert Mathanzima Mweli and deputy minister, Dr. Reginah Mhaule, to conduct physical visits schools across the provinces.
According to the department’s statement, posted on its website, the initiative involves visits to schools across the provinces to empower and encourage the provincial education departments to intensify various matric catch up programmes.
The main feature of the programme is to monitor and fine-tune all the intervention measures in the provinces as well as to ensure that Learner Support Programmes are on track ahead of the National Senior Certificate Examinations.
The DBE has various school support and intervention initiatives such as school improvement project, special matric camps; weekend and holiday classes to ensure learners, particularly Grade 12s, are adequately prepared for the final examinations. Given the impact wrought by the Covid 19 on education, the programme is even more crucial because of the limited teaching time. It is widely believed within the education circles that this year’s pass rate is likely to plummet while the dropout numbers of learners will increase as direct consequence of the pandemic.
Mweli kick started the programme by visiting ten schools in Gauteng. The first school he visited is Ribane Laka Secondary based in Mamelodi followed by Steve Tshwete and Seshegong Secondary School in Olievenhoutbos in Pretoria.
He concluded his visits in the Fezile Dabi district in the Free State province where he went to several schools interacting with school management teams and motivating learners and teachers. Said Mweli during one of his visits: “The passion of the learners is palpable; every learner here today is eager to learn. They are working along with their teachers and I am convinced that many of them are going to surprise us with their excellent results. In addition, I am deeply impressed with the 100% attendance of both learners and teachers here today.”
Mhaule’s visit took her to the Northern Cape, accompanied by the newly-appointed MEC of education, Zolile Monakali. She said the objective of the two-day visits was to “encourage desired curriculum coverage prior to the 2020 National Senior Certificate later this year”.
According to Mhaule, they wanted to “assess the status of schools functionality since all learners returned to their classes a month ago”. She concluded her visit at Galaletsang High School, Gaegake Primary School and Deben Primary School in the John Taole Gaetsewe district.
Mhaule said it is important to ensure that schools and learners are fully supported to “improve the quality of passes and achieve a higher volume of bachelor passes this year”. She also encouraged the provincial department to “equally support primary schools with an attempt to lay a strong foundation for learners in the General Education and Training” band. Mhaule hailed teachers with comorbidities who reported for duty despite their vulnerabilities.