Education hotspots making headlines

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In his 2011 State of the Nation Address President Jacob Zuma said the focus in Basic Education this year (2011) will be what he called triple T, that is Teachers, Textbooks and Time. He said the administration must ensure that every child has a textbook in time, but this has not been the case in Limpopo province, a province that produced the second worst matric results in the country for 2011. Both the national Department of Basic Education and the Limpopo Education Department were found to have violated the rights to education of school pupils in Limpopo by not supplying them with textbooks since the 2012 academic year began.As a result, the respective departments were ordered by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to provide text books for Grade R,1,2,3, and 10 on an urgent basis commencing on the 31 May 2012 and concluding by no later than 15 June 2012. Addressing Media on 14 July 2012 the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said they were in time to meet the court deadline (15 June 2012) for delivery of books to all schools, but a few days later (19 June 2012) the Democratic Alliance (DA) reported that certain schools in Limpopo were still without textbooks. Reports indicated that thousands of textbooks destined for delivery to Limpopo schools were still at a Polokwane warehouse. When confronted about this Motshekga said her office had been informed that the delivery of the textbooks had been completed. The Limpopo Education Department was one of five provincial departments in Limpopo to be placed under administration by Cabinet in December 2011 following bad governance and financial irregularities. Bisho
When Minister Motshekga announced, on 04 January 2012, that the Class of 2011, that wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam, had recorded a pass rate of 70.2% and of all provinces the Eastern Cape produced the lowest matric results in the country, declining from 58.3% in 2010 to 58.1% in 2011. President Jacob Zuma visited the Eastern Cape on 07 June 2011 to assess the general state of education in the province, which has been facing a number of challenges. Among the challenges faced by the Education Department in the province is termination of temporary educators contracts, low pass rate, suspension of scholar transport, non-delivery of learning and teaching support material, poor implementation of school nutrition programme, high rate of pupil pregnancies. Following the Cabinet decision, the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and her Deputy Minister consulted extensively with the leadership of the Province and in particular, with Premier Noxolo Kiviet and the MEC for Education Mandla Makupula. Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape has been placed under Administration on 31 October 2011. Kimberly (Northern Cape)
Municipal services, including schooling, have ground to a halt in Olifantshoek following violent protests over the past three months. Before the schools closed for the June holidays, the Education Department dispatched a task team to asses the situation and it was decided that the mid year exams that were supposed to be written will be re-scheduled for when the schools reopened after the holidays. Currently the schools haven’t reopened and the situation hasn’t stabilised.
Vryburg (North West)
The angry community of Bona-Bona village outside Vryburg in North West remain adamant that schooling will not take place until their demands are met. The Tlotlang Thuto secondary school was torched during violent protest action last week. The community also burned water tanks. They’re demanding a tarred road linking their village with Morokweng and Heiningvlei. They want the clinic to be functional 24-hours and the provision of clean water.
Eleven protesters are still in the police holding cells and will appear at the local court next week. Community members remain angry. One community member says: “We are going to continue until government comes to us; which means the unrest will intensify as we will remain restless, even at night. We are very happy that there are mobile police stations here to guard us day and night. We are thankful in this regard, but what we want is a road, and we will not stop.”
It is almost a week now since over 500 learners at Tlotlang Thuto Secondary School at Bona Bona village outside Vryburg have not been able to attend lessons. It’s the third term and learners are missing out on lessons, and this may affect their end of year results. The angry community also burnt 32 computers at the school and water tanks during the protest. The Department of Education has still not provided any mobile classrooms or an alternative.
Students at the Mapulaneng/Ehlanzeni FET College in Acornhoek are boycotting classes to protest against shortage of lecturers, lack of text books among others.
The learners and community members will demonstrate, disrupting examinations to begin this morning. The students are accusing the Education Department of not equipping their workshop with with relevant tools. They say the tools in the workshops are out-dated. Early this year Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande called on students to enroll at FET colleges. He acknowledged that there are challenges since vocational education is viewed as inferior in quality to university study but he said his department is addressing.

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