The Soweto Education Summit will focus on improving classroom teaching and learner performance in the township, among other issues.
THE Soweto Education Summit will now take place on Saturday, 9 April, after it was postponed for the funeral of struggle hero Henry Gordon Makgothi.
MEC Barbara Creecy is expected to address teachers at the summitMEC Barbara Creecy is expected to address teachers at the summitThe summit was to have taken place on 2 April, the day of the funeral of Makgothi, a former African National Congress Youth League president who died at the age of 82.
According to Barbara Creecy, the Gauteng education MEC, the summit will address various issues, including improving classroom teaching and learner performance; bringing back a climate of discipline, safety and social cohesion in Soweto schools; improving school governance and management; and ensuring a political climate that fosters a spirit of learning and teaching.
“The summit will be held against the backdrop of frequent disruption to learning and teaching in the township, the migration of several thousand learners out of schools in the area to other areas in the province and widespread problems with governance, infrastructure, discipline and safety,” said Creecy.
The impetus to hold a summit came after the state of the province address on 21 February, in which Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said: “With Soweto’s rich history, we cannot allow it to lag behind in terms of the culture of learning and teaching … The education of the African child must be everybody’s business and concern.”
According to Creecy, instability in education was reflected in the academic performance of 2010, when the matric pass rate in Soweto was 63 percent while the provincial average was 79 percent.
Even children from junior grades manifested instability and poor performance.
“Education stakeholders such as religious and business leaders, parents, students, ward councillors, teachers, principals, the Soweto community and icons of the education struggles of the 1980s will form part of the summit,” said Charles Phahlane, the Gauteng department of education’s head of communication.
Creecy said Soweto had 60 underperforming schools, higher the number of underperforming schools in other townships such as Sharpeville, Katlehong, Tembisa, Mamelodi, Soshanguve, Daveyton and Evaton, which had 10 each.
The summit will start at 8am and finish at 5pm, at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus.
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