Ahead of the start of the 2020 academic year yesterday (Wednesday), the Department of Education was confident that teaching and learning at various public schools across the province would commence on the first day of term.
Departmental Spokesperson Sam Makondo informed Polokwane Observer that educators have to report for the new academic year two days before learners to ensure that everything was in place for teaching and learning to start on the first day. There was no reason for concern that teaching and learning would not commence of the first day, Makondo emphasised.
According to Makondo, the delivery of textbooks and Learner Teacher Study Material (LTSM) was completed last year. He stated should shortages exist as a consequence of increased learner enrolment, schools know what to do and will be assisted accordingly. When asked about the number of late applications the department was dealing with, Makondo said they could not quantify them as they were the result of various reasons and circumstances on the part of parents that range from relocation to change of jobs.
He added that schools in Polokwane were mostly affected in terms of a high demand for enrolment because of job opportunities in the city and parents preferring certain schools over others. Makondo emphasised that parents and guardians who still could not secure spaces for their children had to liaise with circuit offices for placements.
Democratic Alliance (DA)
Party Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle said he wanted to believe that schools would be ready as per pronouncement by Education MEC Polly Boshielo that textbooks had been delivered to schools across the province. He further stated that the party would check if textbooks had been delivered to all the schools because this did not happen in the previous years. Smalle added that the placement of learners and appointment of educators presented challenges but that the DA would monitor the situation.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
EFF Provincial Chairperson Jossey Buthane indicated that they wanted to give Boshielo the benefit of the doubt because she seemingly had a sense of where she was going as she had managed to deliver improved matric results and had also stated that textbooks had been delivered to schools on time. He reminded that education was not the responsibility of the Department of Education alone but a societal matter which needed partnership. All education stakeholders and residents must pull in the same direction to improve teaching and learning which will subsequently improve the results, he stressed.
Congress of the People (Cope)
Cope Provincial Secretary Erick Mohlapamaswi expressed the hope that teaching and learning would commence on the first day of school and indicated that party officials would be deployed to various schools in the province to make sure that textbooks are available to all learners and that educators were in the classrooms teaching.
Freedom Front Plus (FF+)
Party Provincial Leader Maritz Marcelle emphasised that although it was their prayer that all would be in order in various schools in the province, the party doubted that this would be the case because the department hadn’t been hands on in the previous years. Party delegates would be visiting schools to check on matters of concern, she confirmed.
African National Congress (ANC)
ANC Provincial Spokesperson Donald Selamolela said they had been assured by the leadership of the ANC-led government that it was all systems go hence he had no doubts that everything would go smoothly. He further stated that the party would be monitoring the schools because day one of school was crucial for both learners and educators. He added that they were hopeful that 2020 academic year will be fruitful and complement the work done by the Class of 2019.
Story: ENDY SENYATSI