Speech by Namane Dickson Masemola MEC for Education in Limpopo province at the 2011 Grade 12 Awards ceremony
5 Jan 2012
Honourable Premier – Mr Cassel Mathale
His Grace Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane
Members of the Executive Council
The Chairperson of Education Portfolio Committee, Hon., George Mashamba and
Members of your Committee
Honourable Members of Parliament, both National Assembly of NCOP
Veterans of our struggle
Provincial Secretary of the ANC- Cde Soviet Lekganyane
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Executive Mayors and Local Mayors
Provincial Chairperson of the Youth Development Agency- Frans Moswane
Leaderships of the various youth formations
Leadership of the ANC
Leaders of various Political Parties
Leaders of the Royalty and your Majesties
Our Traditional Leaders, House of Traditional Leaders and Contralesa
The Leadership of our Teacher Unions
Leaders of learners and student formations
Head of Education Department - Mr Morebudi Thamaga
Heads of other Provincial Departments
South African Council of Churches
Ministers of Religions
Representative of both print and electronic media
Representatives of our institutions of Higher learning
Our esteemed partners in Development
Principals of schools and SGB representatives
Outgoing Grade 12 luminaries and their ever supporting parents
Listeners of our three Regional SABC stations and the various community radio stations
People of Limpopo
Thobela, Avuxeni, Ndi Matsheloni, Lotshane,
Today on 5 January 2012, we have converged here at Bolivia Lodge to once again reflect and account on the mandate given to us by the electorate, as the people of the Province and the Nation awaits the announcement of the Grade 12 results.
During the struggle for liberation, freedom and democracy, the people of this country said in the Freedom Charter proclaimed in 1955, that the “Doors of learning and culture shall be opened”. This remains our primary mandate and is further articulated that Education and Training is fundamental to the development and growth of our country. For this to be realised, the opened doors of learning and culture should provide quality education to the children and youth of our country. Our schools must become centres of excellence and theatres of social justice.
To furthermore give impetus to that, Education and Training has been prioritised by the Ruling Party and Government, as the first priority occasioned to help us consolidate people’s education, towards creation of National Democratic Society characterised by success, prosperity and competitiveness, both domestically and globally. And as such total development of human potential is critical for the success of the National Reconstruction and Development in pursuit of socio-economic transformation, political and civic empowerment and transformation of the institutions of society.
In the beginning of 2010, I have invited the people of Limpopo to join us in advancing key pillars of the Education Revolution and Curriculum transformation, fully aware that this would be tedious and challenging. But indeed it needs all round cadres, committed community activists, public sector cadre ship and visionary collective leadership that will continuously inspire, invigorate and mobilise a broad front of organs of civil society to maximise our contributions to this fundamental agenda. That is mobilising the motive forces of the National Democratic Revolution around education.
It is at this point in particular that we call for more vigour to continue improving our schooling system, so that young South Africans can be properly prepared for the challenges of a rapidly changing society.
And therefore the following pillars are key to the Education Revolution:
- Leadership and management
- Curriculum implementation and coverage
- LTSM supply and resource availability
- Financial management and accountability
- Infrastructure provision
- Learner discipline and school safety
- Time on task
- Parental support and involvement
- Departmental support
- Teacher development
- Sound labour relation
- Stakeholders mobilisation
- Monitoring, support and evaluation
Education is a societal responsibility and a necessary instrument for change, empowerment and total emancipation of our people. And therefore change agents are required, informed by the country’s Education Plan 2025, Provincial Education Turn around Strategy, School Improvement Plan and District Improvement Plan to work hard and make sure that as a Province, we continue to produce and contribute the human resources required by our country.
Comrades, colleagues and fellow South Africans, in any society the primary unit of change and progress is a school, and the primary purpose for the existence of this department, is to offer curriculum through functional and effective schooling system, seen by the performance of learners throughout the grades; in this regard assessed through the performance of Grade 12 classes. All what happens around is to support the core mandate. Therefore curriculum implementation, success and quality throughput is what should make us happy. Because as workers of the minds, it would mean that we are making progress. And I am very pleased that as Education Team since I joined this department, we have been able to arrest the downward spiral of the past years.
We have been able to do that because we continue to invest in the curriculum through a number of intervention strategies:
- training subject committee members on the setting of quality tasks, marking and moderation
- holding regular training sessions with curriculum advisors on development of work schedules, training manuals and setting of quality tasks
- setting and provision of common mid year examinations
- training of mathematics teachers on Hey Math! Programme
- training learner study group leaders
- establishing collaborations between universities and NGO’s
- the role of the two universities in the Province: Venda and Limpopo in using their science centres
- mastec institute trainings
- study camps were organised
- SABC combo extra tuition
- continuous engagements with underperforming schools to mention but a few.
The purpose of all these efforts and many more are geared to make sure that our learners are provided with the necessary support they so deserve and need. I always impress upon our learners that, all what we need from them are their brains, because as Government, we are providing them with everything, free schooling, books, space and resources and even food.
Ladies and gentlemen, and the people of Limpopo, despite the sceptics who satisfy their egos by making public statements casting aspersions on the capabilities of the Education Team, writing open letters of questionable contents, characterising what in their understanding seem to be the situation, displaying their ignorance of variants defects of apartheid education, presupposing things and over exaggerating issues out of context, seeking to glimpse the political reasoning insufficient of essence, based on thoughts to ferment negative perceptions, hidden beneath the call for efficacy, failing to transcend narrow horizons created by grandstanding and choosing to forget the call we made of collective contributions to the construction of a new direction informed by the Education Plan of our country, wishing us to fall prey to all manners of idealistic illusions, seeking hold of the consciousness of the people.
However, the centre of gravity necessarily remains with us. Once more I am very happy to remind all of you that we are in this venue to again recognise our best schools and learners who continue to give us hope even under trying circumstances. These are men and women, boys and girls who keep the glowing light to inspire us to work harder and defeat the exhaustion of mind caused by unsubstantial social weight required to propel education revolution forward and increasing constraints of marginal expressions.
When I joined this department in 2009, we got 48.9% pass rate which was not pleasing. And last year in 2010, we obtained 57.9% pass rate, which was a good performance for the province.
This year our province presented 73 731 learners who wrote Grade 12 exam and 47 091 have passed. I am extremely delighted to announce that our pass percentage for this year is 63.9%, which is a significant growth and excellent performance for the Province. We have out of this exam produced 12 946 Pass Bachelors which means, that is our contribution to the National pool of candidates who will be going to universities. We are no longer regarded as underperforming department by National standards. We are a performing department from where we have started. Today’s exuberant overjoy is as a result of the remarkable achievement we have made.
Before I give you a breakdown of how our schools performed in various categories and the best learners who make this Province proud, it is important to explain that in the New National Curriculum Statement, passes are in various categories and they are indicated in their learners’ statement of results.
It is written:
Pass Bachelor: it means a learner can be admitted for a Bachelor’s degree at any university.
Pass Diploma: it means a learner can only be admitted for a Diploma at a university but not a degree
Pass Higher Certificate: means a learner can only go to university for a higher certificate but not for a degree or a diploma.
It is also important to add that in terms of the new Curriculum, learners must either do mathematics or mathematical literacy. In my 2010/11 budget speech, I mentioned the fact that it has not been easy to successfully manage each of the five districts, with an average of ±900 public schools for each district. I further mentioned that comparative analysis with other provinces revealed that our districts are too big to be managed effectively.
The need arose, therefore, for further delimitation of the present districts into smaller, manageable units, resulting in 10 districts and they are all functional, though we are still building capacity.
However, the administration of the exams is still in the old five districts and the process to align exam results in terms of the new 10 districts has not been concluded. For the purpose of recognising best districts, we will do so in terms of the old demarcation.
Top 3 districts: Grade 12 NSC 2010/11
We are starting with the top three Districts in the Province. But before i can get there, it is important to announce that all our Districts have done very well. For the first time we have all of them performing above fifty percent. In fact four of them performed above the National standard of 60%. Last year we had only two that were above sixty percent and like I said, this year we have four with only one at fifty five percent.
Compared to last year percentage wise, Vhembe increased by 6.9%, Capricorn 2.4%, Sekhukhune 8.3%, Mopani 8.2% and Waterberg by 5.2%. The improvement of our Districts is not by chance, it’s because we had focused also on the underperforming schools. In 2009 we had 737 of them; we had reduced them to 508 in 2010 and this year they have been reduced to 368. This means since 2009 to date we have reduced them by 369 schools. This is a major progress and clearly this year, we should reduce them to nothing. And I am very confident given the capable leadership of our Districts and Circuits.
During our consultations last year we had many schools falling under what we called serial underperforming schools over a period of three past academic years. And given the improvement recorded in this regard, i have decided to recognise the most improved school.
Kheodi high School from Mopani: 2008 –19.3%, 2009 – 10.3%, 2010 – 35.1% and this year is at 78%. Four other most improved schools are from Mopani i.e. Magoza Secondary, Mbhekwana High, Duvula Mahuntsi Secondary and Molate Secondary and also Masopha High School (60%). Infact Mopani has recorded the highest number of schools that have improved.
I would like to congratulate the leadership of Mopani District, both Dr Mafenya, Acting DSM Mr Maake and Executive Mayor Joshua Matlou and the local Mayors who gave our schools support and visited them. Regrettably, while we are working hard to improve, we have three schools that have contested for zero pass percentage, when others got out of that. And these schools are Makidi secondary school in Mabulane circuit from Sekhukhune, Seroletshidi Secondary in Moroke circuit from Sekhukhune District, and Sterkrivier combined school in Potgietersrus circuit from Waterberg.
I want to say to the schools that, you will have to account for this poor performance.
To all our Districts, I would like to thank you for your good work this year. You have worked very hard comrades and colleagues. Congratulations and keep up the good work.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me take this opportunity to announce that, Anglo American Platinum, Twickenham mine project in response to our HRD Strategy, for business to contribute in assisting deserving learners to further their studies, has contributed an amount of R1 million rands to fifty top learners in the province. All these 30 learners and an additional 20, will each receive R20 000 from Twickenham mines. I would like to heartily thank Anglo American for this huge contribution. Clearly all these learners will have money for registration at universities.
Ladies and gentlemen this department stands tall amongst other Provinces as a result of a giant leap in matriculation performances in 2011. And working together with you, we will pursue the goal of making our schools centres of excellence. We will do everything as government and in particular the Department of Education, to restore the confidence of our communities in our public education system. We are in the industry of knowledge production and have resolved to set goals for ourselves:
- We are undergoing full implementation of Action Plan 2014 towards 2025 Education plan.
- The Quality Learning & Teaching Campaign is hard at work and by close of business last, had visited 900 schools to work with them to perfect the quality of learning and teaching.
- Our physical science and mathematics training institute remains critical in shaping the skills of our educators.
- We are analysing the results and thereafter will develop a response plan informed by our strategies.
- Working together with Teach South Africa we will keep the teachers we have placed last year in Mopani to improve performance of the targeted schools.
- Informed by Annual National Assessments (ANA) results we will be focusing on the foundation phase to build a strong foundation.
- We will also be paying courtesy visits to underperforming schools to make sure that they also improve their performance
- We will be working hard to implement CAPS
- Intensify accountability sessions
- Ensure continuous provision of infrastructure to mention but a few
Having said that let me take this opportunity to thank members of Parliament in visiting our schools and motivating our learners. I would also like to thank members of the Portfolio Committee on Education. Your oversight work assisted us to remain focused on our work. Your support is appreciated.
Executive Mayors, Mayors and Councillors, your ever presence and participation in our Izimbizo and interactions with our schools remain an inspiration to us. The support and some resources you give to our schools are far much appreciated. This collective effort will beyond any doubt turn our schools into real units of change.
To our Traditional Leaders, Maapara Nkwe ba tsebja ke boromo le boramage, the interest you displayed in the education of your communities, by your presence in the education forums, is also appreciated. You have displayed a high level of leadership to your communities. Let’s continue working together for the future of our children.
To the SGB’s and parents, you remain an integral part of our system. Your support to the schools is indispensable. Without your participation and commitment to the affairs of schools, it becomes very difficult for our schools to succeed.
To our public servants in all various levels of the department, you remained true servants of the people. We need public servants who always uphold the interests of the people they are employed to serve. We want an administration that knows where people live and serve them with integrity. Continue to visit our schools and give them support. You are doing a good job, you can always do more. To the Head of Department Mr Thamaga MJ and the Management structure you deserve a special word of appreciation.
Last but not least, a special thanks to the workers of the mind, our teachers without whom we would not be celebrating. Learners without a dedicated, committed and prepared teacher in front of them cannot succeed. We will always depend on you, for the production of the type of brains the society needs. Thank you very much for the good work.
A word of appreciation is also extended to the Unions leadership, who continue to be available in their enormous contribution towards the attainment of good results. The services you offer to many of our schools are highly appreciated.
To His Grace, Bishop Dr Barnabas Lekganyane and all the religious leaders here present and at home, thank you very much. Your presence and support always reminds us of our obligation and responsibility, as spiritual beings, to remain good shepherds of the poor souls of the man above.
To everyone who has interest and relationship with the department of education, I invite you to the book of Philippians chapter 3 verses 13-15, which says” Brothers and Sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgeting what is behind and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to receive the prize. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.”
To the media, thank you for your continuous engagements with us in the course of duty of informing communities of Limpopo about our work. To the people of Limpopo, we will never let you down.
“Working together we can do more in providing quality education”
Ramasedi kukamela ditshaba, a lefe matsatsi a bophelo, a le lote go fihla magaeng a lena.
I thank you all.
Ke a leboga.
Issued by: Limpopo Education
5 Jan 2012
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