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Dept gears up for smooth start to 2014 school year

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The Department of Basic Education is gearing up for a smooth start to the 2014
school year, through numerous interventions that have been put in place year after
year.

School Admissions

Notably the most significant achievement in planning for a new school year has
been early learner admission, which in most Provinces is completed, at the latest, by
September of the year preceding the academic year. This enables the system to plan
for adequate provisioning of critical resources ahead of the new academic year.

It also allows for mopping up to ensure that there is a place for all learners at the
beginning of the academic year. Provision is however still made for late registrations
due to unforeseen circumstances that can be proven to relevant Provincial Heads of
Department. These are largely handled at District level to minimize disruptions to the
running of schools and in particular, learning and teaching.


Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTSM)

Another milestone is the increased and timely provision of Learning and Teaching
Support Material (LTSM) and Workbooks. The challenges of timely delivery of books
to schools have mainly been due to challenges in adhering to the strict timeframes
set for procurement and delivery of LTSM; inaccurate data from some schools and
Districts, and non-reporting of shortages where they happen.

There has however, been significant improvement in all these areas in preparation
for 2014. All Provinces are on track and are working in terms of the sector plan for
procurement and delivery; the quality of data from districts has improved and so has
the verification thereof, making it easier for the delivery of books in adequate
quantities at the right schools and on time.

In 2012 the DBE established a toll-free number known to all schools, for the
reporting of shortages and excess deliveries that may occur. All deliveries, both
LTSM and workbooks, are scheduled to be in schools by 30 October 2013. Districts
will be monitoring the deliveries, and reporting any shortages to the Provincial Head
Office as delivery occurs. The final mop up and remediation for textbook delivery will
be between 01 and 30 November 2013.

Infrastructure

The DBE continues to address the historical challenge of inappropriate and
dangerous infrastructure as a priority, through the Accelerated Infrastructure
Development Initiative (ASIDI). The Initiative addresses not only school buildings but
the provision of furniture for learners and teachers, water, electricity and sanitation.

In 2014, seven (7) Provinces including the Eastern Cape, will receive mobile
classrooms to accommodate learners where schools are still under construction, and
to alleviate overcrowding. Upon completion of the ASIDI schools, these mobile
classrooms will join a pool of decanting facilities in respective Provinces. The DBE is
also working with all Provinces to ensure the utilisation of the Provincial Education
Infrastructure Grant allocation to urgently address pressing infrastructure challenges
ahead of the new school year.

School Furniture

Through a collaboration with the Department of Labour, more than 55 000 desks,
5200 teacher tables and a further 5200 teacher chairs are already being made
available to schools that need them. In addition the Department of Environmental
Affairs has started manufacturing an additional 70 000 desks in this financial year for
delivery to schools. In total 125 095 desks will be available for the beginning of the
2014 school year and schools, through their provinces, are sending in their furniture
needs.

Water and Sanitation

More than 10 000 schools will be provided with new ablution facilities at the
beginning of 2014. Another 514 schools will be provided with water, while 433
schools will have their water facilities upgraded. The process of identifying the
schools, procurement, construction and/or repairs and renovations is already under
way and will be complete by end of December 2013. Where possible identified issues
are given immediate attention.

Human Resources

Top on the priority of Provincial Education Departments is the filling of all
management posts and teaching posts ahead of the start of each school year. Key
processes associated with school-level Human Resource provisioning are proceeding
as anticipated with provinces working to ensure that final post establishments are
declared by 30 September and schools can identify and finalize their vacancies for
2014, as well as the identification of teachers who are additional to the post
establishment no later than 31 October 2013.

Planning for and working towards a smooth start to the 2014 academic year is well
on track - particularly in the key areas that have historically challenged the system
at the start of a new year. All children in school on the first day of the school year,
with the necessary LTSM provided for; all children in a school with reasonable
infrastructure that has the necessary furniture and access to water and sanitation;
and all classrooms and subjects with the necessary teachers to make learning and
teaching possible.

Details

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