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Mostly a smooth start to the new school year

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“The schools reopening went very smoothly with teaching and learning commencing on the first day.”

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education confirmed yesterday that while all schools opened yesterday for the 2020 academic year, a number of challenges were experienced at certain schools where communities decided to close schools.

Principals were also warned that if they failed to improve the academic performance of their pupils they will be replaced.

Among the challenges experienced yesterday saw schooling at Anderson Primary in Griquatown and Homevale High School being disrupted by community members and the pupils at these two schools being dismissed.

Department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said that other challenges reported related to pupil transport, where one service provider in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District cancelled its contract with the department.

“The district office is compiling an emergency submission to appoint a new service provider with immediate effect,” Van der Merwe said.

He added that the department was also still receiving late admission applications, which was impacting on available resources, including teachers.

“While the number of late applications increase on a daily basis, schools and districts have to submit a motivation within 10 working days for the appointment of additional teachers. We are aware that at some schools we do have a shortage of teachers and the department commits itself to appoint these teachers by next Monday (January 20).”

Van der Merwe stated that the department had also been informed of alleged nepotism at Assmang Primary School in Postmasburg. “We can assure the public and school community of Postmasburg that all due processes were followed in terms of the appointment of the principal.”

“Except for these incidents, the schools reopening went very smoothly with teaching and learning commencing on the first day.”

The department reminded principals, teachers, SGBs and parents that all schools were being monitored very closely and where challenges were encountered, the department would intervene and address the situation in the best possible way to normalise schooling.

“The academic performance of every child is of utmost importance as we want to improve the academic performance of pupils across all grades. If principals are unable to meet and fulfil these requirements, they will be asked to step aside and make way for someone else. This year it will be business unusual and sub-standard performance will not be tolerated. We are turning the tide in every school and will do what is necessary to raise the bar of education in the Northern Cape.”