Interview with MEC Honourable Maaria Ishmael Kgetjepe – Limpopo Department of Education
- What support is needed to get Limpopo into the top three performing provinces?
Teacher development on subject content and methodology will be strengthened. This is necessary to ensure that they have the proficiency expected when offering the subjects, they are teaching. Newly appointed teachers will be inducted to ensure that they are acquainted with the intricacies of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).
The provincial office will create and advertise teaching posts and ensure that they are filled timeously for the schools to function optimally. Non-viable schools will be identified and if necessary merged before the commencement of the next academic year. The provincial office will ensure that schools are provided with the necessary resources such as sufficient classroom spaces and security within the school premises.
On the other hand, district teacher support is also essential. Districts should provide guidance on curriculum streaming and subject combinations in schools and see to it that there are regular career guidance exhibitions for learners.
The circuit offices are also important in supporting teachers in the province. The circuits should on regular basis conduct on-site visits to verify the availability and usage of resources to support curriculum delivery.
Annually, the department encourages and registers learners for national and international competitions that encourage them to study the content of the subjects they compete in. Furthermore, camps are regularly organised where focused learning in gateway subjects is conducted by relevantly qualified teachers of the subjects.
The school should guide learners on subject combination and possible careers. However, the school can only recommend a combination without enforcing since the decision of both learners and their parents should be respected when coming to subject choices. In addition to the subject camps, districts are encouraged to organise camps for talented learners as well as camps for girl learners.
Learner Teacher Support Materials
The department will ensure that there are sufficient Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM) in schools. Where necessary, subject managers will be encouraged to develop intervention materials for some of the challenging subjects.
Provisioning of Subject Advisors
Regular monitoring and support of curriculum implementation in schools are essential to ensure quality teaching and learning. To this end, the role and responsibilities of subject advisors cannot be overemphasised. Posts of subject advisors will be advertised to ensure that teachers receive adequate support while doing their classroom work.
[bctt tweet=”Regular monitoring and support of curriculum implementation in schools are essential ” username=”Kagiso_Trust”]
Collaboration with other Stakeholders
The department realises the importance of collaboration. Hence, currently, we are maximising collaboration with stakeholders such as Department of Science and Technology, Department of Water and Sanitation, Eskom EXPO for Young Scientists and others.
However, the school has the responsibility to advise parents about their children’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to their future career paths.
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- What are the challenges faced by the Limpopo Department of Education?
Teacher shortage is one outstanding challenge to the department. This is further compounded by the lack of subject specialist teachers to offer gateway subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting.
Shoddy teaching practices leading to inappropriate assessment practices is another challenge. The quality of assessment is a reliable indicator of the quality of teaching that proceeded it. It should be borne in mind that no system can be better than the quality of its teachers.
Small schools offering many subject choices/curriculum streams add to the challenges. These small schools are unable to focus and strategise due to a variety of subjects offered even when the number of learners being offered these subjects is insignificant (small). Small nonviable schools are always characterised by huge teacher workloads and inappropriate assessment practices. This in addition to an inadequate number of subject advisors supporting and monitoring curriculum implementation in our schools
- Why is parental and community involvement key to improving the education system?
The department will embark on a process of training SGB members to capacitate them on their roles and responsibilities concerning the administration of the schools. The school governing bodies (SGBs) are influential when coming to the quality of teaching and learning in a school. The SGB is responsible for recommending teachers to be hired as part of ensuring the amicable running of the school.
As such, it is essential that parents become an integral part of their children education. By so doing, they become knowledgeable of their children’s strengths and weaknesses and ultimately are able to advise learners on the choice of subjects as well as possible future careers available.
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- Why partner with Kagiso Trust to implement the whole school development model in the Sekhukhune district?
The Donor Funding Unit and Department of Education Development Trust arranged a breakfast seminar to solicit funds from the business community in the form of partnerships, donations and curriculum support.
The invitation was extended to the business community, mining companies, education support foundations and trusts. During the presentations of the departmental challenges by the SG of the Department, the work of Kagiso Trust emerged from the Trusts in attendance.
Kagiso Trust’s interest in the province was re-awakened by various issues raised by the Department from results improvement to infrastructural issues.
Why the Sekhukhune District was selected:
The selection of Sekhukhune as the focal point for the programme was due to the fact that the district has many schools and for several years the district’s grade 12 results have been below the provincial benchmark. Consequently, the district is regarded as underperforming and it’s poor performance affects the provincial performance because of the number of schools it commands.
- What is your long-term vision for education in the province?
The department aspires to produce year in and year out learners who are motivated to school and learn, trained teachers who conduct themselves in a professional manner, principals who are leaders and parents who are interested in the education of their children in addition to suitable school infrastructure that enhances teaching and learning.