The increase in no-fee schools and the fee exemption is indicative of the poverty levels being on the rise in the Northern Cape.”
OVER 70 percent of schools in the Northern Cape are fee-free schools, where the provincial Department of Education has allocated R11 million for 22 000 pupils who will be exempted from paying school fees for the 2018/19 financial year.
During her budget speech yesterday, the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, said this was in comparison to 21 569 pupils who received funding for school fees during the past financial year.
She added that 111 schools out of a total of 138 schools, were exempt from charging school fees.
“It’s worth mentioning that the increase in no-fee schools and the fee exemption is indicative of the poverty levels being on the rise in the Northern Cape.”
Bartlett said that a large number of late school admissions had been registered, which contributed to some pupils only being placed at a school in January and February.
“This is not an ideal situation, as we want to commence with schooling on the first day of school in January 2019. Education is a right,and parents have the responsibility to ensure that every child of school-going age attends a school and has access to education.
“Parents or guardians will be informed in writing by the school principal from August 20 to 24 on the outcome of their application.
“Late applications for admissions shall be accommodated where school places exist, but not necessarily at the pupil’s school of choice.
“Pupils whose parents have been transferred into the Province shall apply directly to a school. No special treatment shall be given to these pupils.”
She added that special focus would be placed on maths, science and technology subjects this year.
“The aim is to address both the participation rate and under-performance in mathematics by providing strong foundational skills.
“We are utilising the Bloodhound project to instil an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by showcasing these subjects as fun and enjoyable.”
Bartlett added that eight new schools would be constructed throughout the Province, including the state-of-the-art Redirile primary school in the Frances Baard district, Steynville in Pixley ka Seme and Wrenchville Primary and Dithakong High School in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district.
Meanwhile, Greenpoint Primary in the Frances Baard district, Karos in ZF Mgcawu and Khiba Middle School and Kitlanyang school and hostel in John Taolo Gaetsewe will be replaced.
She added that the school infrastructure at West End Primary, Vooruitsig Primary and Kimberley Boys’ High would be expanded and provided with additional classrooms.
“We have commenced the planning of a new high school in the Gariep hospital area.
“In the John Taolo Gaetsewe district, we commenced planning for a new secondary school between Kuruman and Wrenchville, as well as a secondary school in the Sishen and Seodin area. The construction of the Mogajaneng primary and secondary schools will commence towards the end of the financial year.”
Bartlett stated that the provision of proper hostel facilities remained a priority.
“We will continue to do repairs and renovations of hostels within the Province. Furthermore, hostel staffing remains a critical aspect and has an adverse effect on the total lifespan of our current infrastructure investment.
The MEC said that from next year there will only be two opportunities for candidates to write exams for their National Senior Certificate.
“The May/June senior certificate (amended) examination will include candidates who qualify for the Supplementary Examinations and the October/November National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.
Bartlett added that the 2018 NSC exams would commence on October 23 in the Northern Cape and end on November 28.
“The provincial education departments will release their matric results on January 4, 2019.”
She stated that after taking over the function of pupil transport from the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison as from April 1, the department had designed a pupil transport database to manage routes, operator performance, documentation management, condition of vehicles, pick-up times and drop-off times.
“A total number of 25 495 pupils are benefiting from school transport on 414 routes across the Province.”
Bartlett said that a number of schools had been linked to police stations in order to promote safer schools in the Province.
“We have identified the hot-spot schools in the Province, where we will have targeted programmes focussing on drug and substance abuse, bullying and gangsterism.”
The department has introduced Setswana as a subject at 101 primary schools and four high schools this year.
Bartlett said 200 Grade 1 teachers would be trained in the implementation of the incremental introduction of African languages, while pupils would be encouraged to learn one of the two provincially recognised indigenous African languages.
Total budget: R6.4 billion
Conditional Grants to Improve Pupil Outcomes: R790 million
Administration: R662 Million
Public Ordinary Schools Education R4.8 billion
Public Special Schools Education: R158 million
School Nutrition Programme: R190 million
Examinations and Education Services: R143 million
Early Childhood Development: R104 million
Infrastructure Development R581 million
No-fee schools: R238 million
Pupils with Profound Severe Intellectual Disabilities: R6.5 million