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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Deputy Minister Surty outlines education priorities to KZN officials

Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty, visited Richards Bay for two days of frank and constructive meetings with education stakeholders in the Uthungulu District of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Deputy Minister was accompanied by the MEC for Education in the province, Ms Peggy Nkonyeni, KZN Superintendent-General, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi and senior officials from both the Department of Basic Education and the Provincial Education Department. The delegation met with school principals, district officials and subject specialists from 25-26 September 2014, with the aim of getting to grips with the issues affecting education delivery in the district.

The meetings were an opportunity for the Deputy Minister to outline the sector priorities of the current administration and to emphasize the important role played by teachers, principals and district officials in the delivery of quality education to learners in the Uthungulu District and indeed throughout the country. These priorities include the strengthening of education districts, teacher development learner and teacher support material, Early Childhood Development and infrastructure.

Addressing the meetings, Deputy Minister Surty highlighted the strengthening of districts as a particular focus of the current administration.

“Strengthening districts is a focus area for us, and in fact it is a continuation of the regular meetings with district directors, which were introduced in the previous administration,” said the Deputy Minister. “Already through improved Annual National Assessment and National Senior Certificate results we can see that those meetings have had a positive effect. District directors have taken responsibility and accountability for what happens in their schools, and it is clearly starting to show in the results.”

Deputy Minister Surty called on officials to ensure that principals were held to account and warned against complacency.

“Setting meaningful targets are essential for performance management, and we must do all we can to ensure that our principals and our school leaders are of the highest standard and that they are people of integrity,” said Deputy Minister Surty. “As a system we must aim for a change in the quality of our schools, not simply increasing numbers.”

MEC Nkonyeni agreed that the province was aiming for an improvement in the quality of passes achieved by learners, with a NSC pass rate of 85, 5% targeted.

“We are focussing on quality. To this end we have established a Teacher Development Institute in Durban, and it should be fully functional by 2015,” said the MEC. “Our goal with this institute is to improve teachers’ content knowledge.”

The MEC highlighted challenges around infrastructure budgets in the province and called for the DBE to provide guidance around the provision of information communication technology, to ensure best practice was being adhered to.

Deputy Minister Surty outlines education priorities to KZN officials