The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape wishes all teachers and learners well for the 2015 school year. Teachers return to school tomorrow and learners will be in class on Wednesday. We hope that you will continue building on the success achieved by the Class of 2014, who improved on the matric pass rate in the province from 64.9% in 2013 to 65.4% in 2014.
Education is the ticket out of the poverty trap. Of concern is the quality of our education and low numbers of children who make it all the way through the school system. Using the matric pass rate as the main yardstick to assess performance is 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.
We are therefore in full support of the continuation of the Back 2 School-campaign launched by the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign committee in the province (QLTC) in January last year.
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.
We encourage communities to participate in the Back 2 School-campaign programme by:
- 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 21 January 2015;
- 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; and
- 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 assist 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 2015 and we hope that some of the issues that have plagued education in the provinces, such as post provisioning, shortage of teachers and over-crowded classrooms will improve this year.
Edmund van Vuuren
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