The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape unreservedly supports the Back 2 School-campaign as envisaged by the he Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign committee in the province (QLTC). It is indeed encouraging that this province will be conducting its first stakeholder Back 2 School-campaign during the first quarter of 2014.
The campaign endeavours to include a wide sector of society, including NGOs and faith-based organisations to work in conjunction with the government departments to promote a culture of learning. The DA encourages QLTC structures at schools. Their function should be to mobilise communities around societal roles and responsibilities to strengthen the Back 2 School-campaign.
It is the responsibility of society as a whole to ensure that our children receive the quality education to put them on the road to a bright and prosperous future.
Education is the ticket out of the poverty trap. The Eastern Cape Province again fared the worst in the country with a matric pass rate of 64,9%. Of concern is the quality of our education and low numbers of children who make it all the way through the school system.
What is most disconcerting about the number of learners that entered Grade 1 in 2002 and the cohort successfully completing Grade 12 in 2013. Using the pass rate as the main yardstick to assess performance is simply not a credible measure of the quality of education in the Eastern Cape.
The problem with focussing on the pass rate is that it does not take into consideration the number of learners who drop out of the system before they write the National Senior Certificate examinations.
In 2002 there were 284 283 learners that entered Grade 1, with 77 602 reaching Grade 12 in 2013. However, only 75 092 sat for the National Senior Certificate examinations in 2013 with only 48 734 successfully completing Grade 12.
In real terms, with reference to those that entered Grade 1 in 2002, the success rate of this cohort completing Grade 12 is a mere 17,14%. Therefore 206 681 learners did not complete their Grade 12-education in 2013. Too many children are leaving school without a proper education.
The DA therefore welcomes the steps announced by the QLTC this morning and we encourage communities to support the programme. Steps include:
- Mobilising communities around societal roles and responsibilities to strengthen the Back 2 School-campaign;
- Communities and parents must ensure that learners are in the classroom during the schooling calendar;
- Households ensure all children attend school from 15 January 2014;
- Provide the necessary family- and community support to prevent learners from not being in the classroom;
- Monitoring that schools are open timeously and are functional;
- Providing support to local schools to ensure all necessary resources are available or accessible;
The DA encourages retired teachers, nurses and policemen to adopt a school and to asset governing councils and senior management teams in addressing challenges that fall within their scope of expertise.
The DA is also appealing to school principals and school governing bodies to not deny access to schools unnecessarily. Education is the foundation for opportunity. Without these opportunities our children are doomed.
We wish all educators and learners the best for 2014 and hope we will improve on our Annual National Assessment- and National Senior Certificate results.