Today marked the first day of the third term in the school calendar.
Almost one million learners returned to school after an eventful winter vacation.
Thousands of learners and educators took part in our successful winter school and educator training programmes in June and July. All the programmes were well attended and I am confident that our school tutoring programmes helped assist some of our Grade 12s in preparation for their National Senior Certificate examinations.
I am also confident that our educators found the special training programmes both rewarding and beneficial in terms of new skills and development, particularly in literacy and numeracy.
I am pleased to announce that initial reports from our eight districts reveal that the first day back at school was without incident or any major problems.
Learners began the school day by singing Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela for his 93rd birthday.
Last week, the WCED had issued letters to schools reminding them of the planned Mandela Day activities, with attached, words and a recording of the Happy Birthday Madiba song.
My message to learners on this special day is to honour Nelson Mandela everyday by ensuring that they are at school on time and prepared for the day ahead.
Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Let’s now show Mandela how powerful a weapon education can be as we change theWestern CapeandSouth Africa.
I have been informed that we are already off to a good start this term. Attendance rates of teachers and learners were reportedly high today. I encourage all our educators and learners to continue and to improve on this.
This term we will be focusing, amongst other things, on our Class of 2011.
We now have only 90 days to go before the beginning of the National Senior Certificate examinations and I encourage all our Grade 12 learners to make the most of the remaining days we have left.
By now, they should all have received their June examination results, which will indicate how our learners are performing. Learners should use this as a benchmark to determine which subjects need more attention in terms of studying or extra assistance. The Department will also be analyzing the results of our schools, specifically our underperforming schools, to determine where we need to focus additional support and assistance.
Other Grade 12 programmes, such as the telematics and tutoring programmes, will continue throughout the third term.