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Interventions are being put in place and teachers are getting further training as the province rolls out plans to improve its matric pass rate.
TO improve Gauteng’s matric pass rate, which rose 2,5 percent in 2011, plans have been put in place to set up extra lesson for pupils in grades 10, 11 and 12.

MEC for education Barbara CreecyMEC for education Barbara CreecyThis was announced by the MEC for education, Barbara Creecy, who tabled the department’s programme of action in the Office of the Gauteng Premier on 23 February. The Secondary School Improvement Programme, as it is known, would spread across the province, she said. It began in Kagiso in Mogale City on 25 February.

“We will continue with interventions for all the phases in the education system, with a particular focus on 1 228 under-performing schools.”

For the first time, a range of interventions would be rolled out in secondary schools to help learners make the transition from primary school to high school. Grades 4 and 7 in the intermediate phase and grades 8 and 9 in the senior phase would be targeted.

In addition, a mathematics and English catch-up programme for Grade 8 had been developed to ensure that learners met the required level in these subjects before moving into high grades. Creecy said this was necessary as most learners struggled with these subjects. This was because the subjects were not given adequate attention in primary schools. This programme would be infused into normal teaching and learning for Grade 8s throughout the year.

English and maths
The catch-up programme would include class reading and group reading in English and 10 minutes would be allocated each day specifically to maths. Learners would be given study tools to help in the daily teaching and learning, including dictionaries and textbooks.

Creecy also announced the expansion of primary school language literacy to include numeracy subjects. “This means that we will have a seamless and integrated approach to the delivery of and support for literacy and numeracy for all grades in primary school,” she explained.

Coaches would be recruited – 460 in total – to support the language literacy and numeracy programme. Each coach would be responsible for five to six schools. Their duties would involve working with teachers in preparing for lessons and giving feed back to the department on what needed to be done to further improve learners’ performance.

“Coaches are trained on a monthly basis so we establish practice as standards for coaching and ensure consistency and predictability.” Furthermore, 5 000 foundation phase teachers were trained on core curriculum concepts through the department’s 24-hour Just in Time programme.

To ensure a better pass rate in maths and science in the senior phase, 2 075 maths and science teachers in grades 10, 11 and 12 underwent an intensive three-week course at higher education institutions. With regards to the long-term vision of integrating information and communication technology into the formal learning programme, 352 teachers were trained in Microsoft packages, including Word, Excel and Access.

Lesson plans
To make sure that teachers had direction regarding which learning areas to concentrate on, the department had developed 500 hours of standard lesson plans for grades 8 and 9, and 300 hours of standard lesson plans for grades 10, 11 and 12 outlining curriculum coverage. The lessons plans were linked to the workshops supplied by the national Department of Basic Education for the first term.

Creecy also shed light on the much-talked about Grade R implementation strategy. She said there had been steady progress in meeting the target of 5 000 Grade R sites across the province.

“We have 3 359 sites in Gauteng and we are conducting full-scale verification and mapping of all early childhood development sites in Gauteng,” she explained. Some 107 000 learners attended early childhood development sites, more than two-thirds of the target of 150 000 set for 2014.

More than 300 new sites had been registered for 2012 and approximately 300 prefabricated classrooms had been delivered and were already occupied. The Early Childhood Development Institute was in the final stages of compiling a curriculum for learners starting from birth to four years old.

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