Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says she is encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by principals and curriculum advisors in Limpopo, despite the difficulties they are facing.
Motshekga visited the Provincial Department of Education on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of her oversight responsibilities to all provinces.
During the first day of the meeting, Motshekga and Education MEC Namane Masemola met with senior management of the Limpopo Department of Education to discuss issues including the department's readiness to conduct the Annual National Assessments, preparations for the 2012 NSC examinations, progress report on post provisioning (filling of posts) for the 2012 school year.
Other issues discussed included the mop-up report on the procurement and delivery of textbooks for 2012 and progress report on the procurement and distribution of textbooks and stationery for 2013, and the strengthening of information sharing between the department and schools.
A detailed analysis
The provincial department presented a detailed catch-up plan informed by the analysis of the work done to date, as well as the gaps identified by teachers. The national department, for its part, did a detailed analysis of the content of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) Grades 10 -12, and the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) Grades R to 12.
Motshekga said the analysis clearly indicated that the difference between the NSC and the National CAPS was minimal, and that schools were able to cover a substantial amount of work using the old NCS Grades 10-12 textbooks, as also evidenced by the information provided by schools.
"Instead, the analysis of the information from schools showed the main issues were not around lost time because of late delivery of textbooks, but more on the difficult areas of the curriculum where teachers continue to need support in general," Motshekga said.
At the end of the meeting on Wednesday, the department and the principals agreed that in view of the fact that the challenge was mainly around general curriculum support, the catch-up plan would centre on the delivery of subject guides, focusing on the few new topics in the new curriculum and mainly on what teachers find challenging to teach.
The meeting also provided the department, school principals and curriculum advisors an opportunity to share experiences and there was a clear commitment from all parties to work together to deal with other longstanding challenges in the system.
"Encouraged by enthusiasm"
"I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by our principals and curriculum advisors of this district, despite the difficulties they are facing, I will continue with similar oversight visits in other districts" said Motshekga.
Meanwhile, the department has reiterated that schools for the visually impaired do receive sighted workbooks as they are used for learners with low vision.
The department reported that the master copies of the Grade 1-6 English workbooks were nearly ready for printing and delivery; however, the order had to be re-issued as the department could no longer conduct it through the Western Cape Education Department.
"Master copies of Grades 1-3 in African languages are currently being developed by Pioneer and Braille services. The department has not yet ordered any textbooks as we are still awaiting a quotation from both publishers," the department said in a statement.
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