The ANC-led Gauteng Education Department continues to lead the way in making sure that our children receive the very best in educational material, teachers and facilities. Earlier this year, MEC for Education in the province, Cde Panyaza Lesufi spoke about the various priorities that the department had. All this was echoed in the State of the Province Address by Cde David Makhura who told the Gauteng Legislature that education remained an apex priority for the ANC-led government.

At the beginning of the year, the online admission system kicked in with parents being encouraged to register their Grades 1 & 8 children on the platform and wait for messages of placement. Over 500 000 applications have been captured by the system.

While speaking on the admission system, Cde Lesufi spoke about just how important moving toward a digital future is. “Parents will receive an sms advising them on the status and outcomes of their application. Placements will be made available on Friday 3 August 2018.”

Another key area where the department is investing heavily is infrastructure and teacher training . This ensures that our children are exposed to the very technology that they need, in the most well-designed schools they could possibly have. “We have finally agreed with the teacher unions that we are going to be able to vet all the teachers that are coming into the system from the 1st of July,” said Cde Lesufi while remarking on how Gauteng wants the best teachers standing in front of students.

One way infrastructure challenges can be overcome is through the twinning program that the department has. Schools from more privileged areas will be given “twins” from less privileged areas and the school governing bodies of both schools will be merged. The process is also meant to encourage sharing of resources and building social cohesion. Cde Lesufi says this process should be embraced by other schools. “To us this is a demonstration that twinning is the future. We conducted it as a pilot project, but we are convinced that if we come back in 2019 we are going to fast track this so every school will have a twin in our province.”

The school year has not been without its challenges so far, with a learner being shot dead by his father and a principal going missing only to be found in bad shape later. The ugly head of racism persists in some of our schools with teachers and communities coming together at times to disrupt teaching and learning. This will all be overcome as the ANC prides itself in being the leader of society and solving all of the issues that exist in the education sector – including those which lead to tragedy such as crime and safety.

Speaking about the view he has for the year, Cde Lesufi said the following, “7 out of 10 of our districts are in the top 10 national matric performance. I’m also thrilled at the young people that have fought for their rights in schools. We have built 43 new schools since 2014 with world class sport, classroom and science facilities. We are on the right track.”