Tag: school

By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband

The government has instructed South African schools to give Grade 4 – 9 learners up to 5% extra marks for up to three subjects if this will help them pass the 2020 academic year.

This is an increase over the extra 2% which was available to Grade 7-9 learners in 2019, with this change being attributed to the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark adjustments and condonations are used as special dispensations to offset potential high retention of learners in an academic year, said Department of Basic Education Director-General Hubert Mathanzima Mweli.

“In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and related learning losses experienced in Grades 4-9, the application of these special dispensations are continued.”

The circular sent to schools by the government states that a mark adjustment of 5% is allowed in a maximum of three subjects, and thereafter, a further condonation in Mathematics must be applied.

This requires learners who would have passed except for their mathematics mark, to be allowed through to the next grade in 2021 via a “condoned” pass.

This is regardless of the mark they receive for mathematics, Mweli confirmed.

Mweli also noted that grade 9 learners who are condoned, and who achieve less than 30% for mathematics, should still be allowed to take Mathematics in Grade 10.

“As in 2019, there is no restriction of only choosing Mathematical Literacy as a result of the Mathematics condonation,” said Mweli.

Condoned learners must have their mathematics mark indicated on their mark schedule, and the letter “C” will be present next to the mark to show that the mark was condoned.

Additionally, the learner’s report will state:

“Mathematics mark has been condoned and the learner is promoted to the next grade.”

Response
Senior research associate at UJ Professor Mary Metcalfe supported the decision by the Department of Basic Education.

“We need to recognise the catch up of learning from the loss of learning time in 2020 will take place over several years,” said Metcalfe.

“Learners must be supported over the time frame in an educational atmosphere which minimises stress and which takes into account the very different environments in which learning was possible — or impossible — at home.”

She also believes that teachers should be given the flexibility to make the best decision regarding the condonation of learners.

“[They] are best placed to judge if the learning context of the subsequent grade will be able to support them,” said Metcalfe.

However, UCT education Professor Ursula Hoadley told Times Live that the decision is illogical, as schools have already taken measures to address the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason given is to compensate for learning losses, but schools were already required to address this by only assessing what was taught (which in the majority of schools was a very small proportion of the normal curriculum) and by having a much greater proportion of the mark allocated to School-Based Assessments (as opposed to exams),” Hoadley explained.

She said that because of this decision, many more learners are likely to pass than last year, which will result in overcrowded classes.

“It is also going to lead to much greater heterogeneity in classes, making teachers’ work that much more difficult, especially in trying to reach the number of underprepared students in their classrooms who, in a normal year, may have stayed in the previous grade,” said Hoadley.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) minister Debbie Schafer told My Broadband that she believes this decision is reasonable when one considers the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on learners.

“However, it should only be for this year, and measures must be put in place next year to catch up,” said Schafer.

“The WCED is currently engaging with the DBE to clarify a number of assessment matters before providing guidance to our schools.”

 

BTS: expert tips for staying healthy

Source: Healthline

Back-to-school season is often full of anticipation and excitement. But it can also bring on a whole lot of germs.

As your kids head back to the classroom, you might be wondering what you can do to protect them and the rest of your family, not only from COVID-19 but also from the flu.

Taking a proactive approach can help your kids — and you! — stay healthy as they head back to school. Here are seven expert tips to get you started.

Practice proper hand-washing
It’s one thing to tell your kids to wash their hands, but it’s another to make sure they’re following the correct steps.

“It is so important to ensure that children learn to properly wash their hands by scrubbing them with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds,” explains Gina L. Posner, MD, a paediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Centre.

If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and rub it into your skin for 20 to 30 seconds.

Remind your kids to avoid touching their face and keep their hands away from their eyes, nose, and mouth. Also teach them to properly wear a mask and maintain social distancing in school and among their friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay current on vaccinations
It’s vital to keep your children up to date with their vaccinations, especially their flu, pneumonia, and whooping cough shots, according to Daniel S. Ganjian, MD, a paediatricians at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre.

Even if you’ve skipped the flu shot in the past, experts stress that this isn’t a good year to opt out, due to COVID-19.

“We want to protect their lungs as much as possible,” says Ganjian.

And the same rules apply to the rest of the family.

“The entire family should be up to date with their vaccines to increase the herd immunity in the household,” explains Ganjian.

Make mealtime all about the rainbow
Why not make mealtime full of colourful fruits and vegetables?

“Fruit and vegetables contain immune-supporting antioxidants like vitamin C,” says Katie Cavuto, MS, RD.

Kids need about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day. Fill their plate and lunchboxes with foods like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, spinach, broccoli, and kale.

Get back on a regular sleep schedule
It’s easy to get caught up in everything you want to get done in a day, but don’t neglect the importance of sleep.

“Sleep is essential for immune system health and general well-being, and not getting enough can also lead to an increased inability to fight off infections,” says Cavuto.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night for children ages 6 to 12 and 8 to 10 hours each night for teens ages 13 to 18.

A simple starting point is to create and stick with a sleep routine.

“Our bodies like consistency, so aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. And kids and adults alike respond well to a bedtime routine that includes wind-down activities like screen-free time, reading, warm baths or showers, and soothing sounds or a guided meditation,” Cavuto adds.

Get plenty of exercise
Daily exercise can help reduce stress and boost your child’s overall health. And the best part? It takes only 60 minutes per dayTrusted Source to see and feel the benefits.

Aerobic activities like bike riding, playing soccer, hiking, and swimming all get their heart pumping, while activities like climbing or doing pushups strengthen their muscles. But remember to make it fun.

“Kids need to have more fun in their lives — more than ever before,” says Ganjian.

When you increase their fun, you increase their happiness, which Ganjian says helps boost resilience to diseases.

 

Last-minute BTS shopping has parents fuming

By Kgomotso Modise for EWN

Many parents said that they only received confirmation from the Education Department on where their children had been placed on Tuesday morning.

As parents who left their back to school shopping to the very last minute flocked to uniform and stationery shops last Tuesday afternoon, many blamed the Education Department for the situation.

Government schools reopen last Wednesday for the 2020 academic year.

The queue to get into the schoolwear shop in Booysens was lengthy, with parents streaming in. The store is the go-to shop for schools in the south.

Many of the parents said that they only received confirmation from the Education Department on where their children had been placed the morning before school started.

“I was expecting the other school to take him then he was taken by this school that I don’t like, so that’s the reason why I had to do the last minute shopping because I didn’t know which uniform to buy.”

One woman said that the last-minute changes in her family had brought her here.

“Having to move from one area to another area. I only found out that my daughter was accepted at the school at 12pm [on Tuesday].”

Some parents abandoned their bid for new school uniforms because of the long queues, saying they would try again.

Source: Boksburg Advertiser

The online system was introduced to make it easy and convenient for parents to submit applications rather than queue at a school. It has also provided accurate information to the department for planning purposes.

The online application for Grades One and Eight for the 2020 academic year will go live on May 13 at 8am and will close on July 15.

Parents are urged to use the online system and log on to www.gdeadmissions.gov.za

To make apply, parents should click on “Apply for 2020” and follow the prompts through the three-step process, namely:

Step 1 – Enter parent/legal guardian details
Step 2 – Enter learner details
Step 3 – Apply to a school

According to Gauteng education spokesperson, Steve Mabona, the applicant will be able to view, among others, the amendments to the admission regulations, terms and conditions and school feeder zones on the online system.

“At the same time, applicants can choose to listen to and view a step-by-step video tutorial and/or read a step-by-step user guide.

“Parents can also visit the nearest public school, district admissions centre, a community library or community centre for assistance with applying online.

“These walk-in centres will assist parents who are not comfortable with using computers, lack access to internet facilities or do not have adequate data.

“Our trained officials will assist parents in these centres,” said Mabona.

Applications are opened early to provide adequate time for planning of allocation of resources such as educators, classrooms and learning and teaching study materials.

Mabona said the capacity of the admission’s online application system has been increased to accommodate 50 000 simultaneous users.

Grade R
Mabona said parents or applicants with children in Grade R in the current school should also apply online.

“Applications for Grade Eight in schools of focused learning or schools of specialisation should also be made online. The system will show all schools and the applicant or parent will choose the relevant school and the reference number ‘WA6’ will be generated.

“The learner will, however, be subjected to an additional pre-qualification test at the relevant school, for instance by attending an audition at an arts school or writing a test.”

Furthermore, applications for boarding schools should also be made online. However, the applicant or parent must apply directly to the school for boarding or accommodation.

“Applications for Grade Eight at monastic, girls only or boys only schools should also be done online,” said Mabona.

Previous/current school will not be available as an application option. However, all Grade Eight applicants will indicate their current school.

“The system will measure the distance from the child’s current primary school to the closest secondary school. If the parent has applied to the secondary school closest to the current primary school, the system will place the applicant at that secondary school,” said Mabona.

Documents
Applicants and parents should submit the following documents to the school within seven working days:

Certified copy of the ID of the parent/legal guardian or a sworn affidavit in case the parent/legal guardian does not have an ID (non-South African citizens should submit a certified copy of their passport, valid visa or temporary/permanent residence permit/asylum seeker or refugee permit).
Proof of home address.
Certified copy of the child’s birth certificate (unabridged birth certificates are not required).
Clinic immunisation card if applying for Grade One.
Current school academic report and transfer if applying for Grade Eight.
Proof of sibling relationship where the sibling option is used.
Upon submission of documents, parents must sign a register to indicate that the documents were submitted and receive a confirmation of submission of documents receipt.

Placement process
Placement of learners by the department will take place from August 27 to September 20.

“Parents or applicants will receive an SMS notification of successful and unsuccessful application at the school.

“They have an obligation to accept or reject the placement offer within seven days. If a parent fails to accept or reject offer of placement within the given period, such a parent will forfeit the offer and it will be given to the next person in the queue,” said Mabona.

Mabona said spaces in schools are limited and are subject to how many learners currently in the school progress to the next grade.

As such, placement will be conducted on a first come, first served basis and on the following prioritisation:

  • home address closest to school within feeder zone
  • sibling at the school
  • work address within feeder zone
  • home address within 30km
  • home address is beyond 30km of the school.

The rankings are subject to the availability of space in the school.

Online system
The department has acknowledged that it has received criticism from some parents that the online system does not work.

“The department failed to communicate in time with the parent on the status of their application. We accept that the criticism is valid. Still, parents should understand that living closer to the school does not entitle a person to automatic admission.

“Placement will depend on the time the application was made and availability of space in the school. That is why we urge parents to apply on time to avoid frustration,” said Mabona.

By Nivashni Nair for Times Live

Parents were dumbfounded when Roseland Primary School sent them a letter claiming it couldn’t afford to print their children’s reports.

The management of a Durban school may have skipped the logic class when it sent out notices to parents telling them that it’s too poor to print report cards.

“Why couldn’t they just print the report using the same paper and ink that they used for the letter?” one parent asked TimesLIVE.

In the letter dated March 12, the principal of Roseland Primary School in Newlands invited parents to school on April 11 from 4pm to 6pm to view their children’s academic progress.

“The school is unable to print any reports due to the financial constraints the school is faced with. We will not issue any information before 4pm. You may come to school to fetch a letter for your employer to dismiss you early on the date,” the principal Brenda Davids said.

The mother of a grade 5 pupil told TimesLIVE that she was in utter shock when she received the letter.

“I have never heard of a child not receiving a report,” she said.

She then started to question how the school management could afford to print letters to send home to every pupil and for parents to take to their employers but were unable to issue report cards.

“I can’t wrap my head around their logic. I have a file where I keep all my child’s reports, school photos and everything she does in the year like cards and things she achieves in school. Now I won’t have the first term’s report,” she said.

Another parent said she understood that the school was financially strapped due to non-payment of school fees however she had paid her grade 3 son’s fees.

“I think we are more angry because we know this could have been rectified by simply printing the report card instead of wasting paper and ink on letters informing us that there are no report cards.”

“How can they not see how silly this whole thing is?”

The principal could not be reached for comment, however KwaZulu-Natal education department spokesman Kwazi Mthethwa called on her to immediately release the pupils’ results.

“As a department we do not get involved in the day to day running of a school. That function belongs to the school. No one is allowed to withhold results of any learner. We are calling upon the school to be reasonable and give learners what is due to them.”

Mthethwa said he wasn’t aware of the letters that were sent home to parents.

“We have not seen any letters. But if it is true, how can the school claim that they don’t have resources to print any documents but they are printing another document. It’s a serious contradiction,” he said.

He added that school reports can be printed on cardboard or paper.

“No one needs glossy reports. A report is a report whether its on cardboard or paper. If it comes to a push, print it on paper,” he said.

By Kerushun Pillay for The Witness

Once a specialist field for nerds, the world of coding has today become pretty much a norm in the career space — so much so that even basic administrative jobs require people to know basic coding.

And the trend is being felt strongly: several online platforms, including universities, are on offer for people to get quick crash courses in coding, in addition to a wealth of online resources and free coding software for anyone interested.

There are a few non-profit organisations teaching coding and advanced IT to impoverished schools, with other local organisations strongly advocating for coding to be taught to the youth.

The looming fourth industrial revolution — which is likely to kill the traditional “blue collar” line of work — has meant advanced IT skills is slowly becoming no longer just advantageous, but more of a requirement. And those who’ve mastered it have seen a whole new world open up, from new employment and freelance opportunities, to suddenly being sought-after in their fields.

A pupil entering Grade 1 this year will graduate in 2031 if they do a one-year post matric qualification, when the world — and more importantly, the job market — is vastly different.

Coders make up a huge portion of the increasingly popular “gig economy” — where freelancers are hooked up with companies.

Even a traditionally pen and paper industry like journalism is slowly beginning to value basic coding skills, with more international newsrooms listing knowledge of basic HTML coding as a requirement.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is making plans to implement coding into the school curricula for Grade R to Grade 9 starting from next year.

The Department of Basic Education is looking at introducing coding schools.

The DBE has developed a “framework of skills for a changing world” and provincial departments are already in the process of implementing them.

The DBE said the Council of Education Ministers had last year approved the implementation of a Coding and Robotics curriculum to begin during foundation phase.

“Teachers and learners will be able to respond to emerging technologies, including the Internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence,” the department said.

The DBE has partnered with Unisa­, which has made 24 IT labs available to train some 72 000 teachers in coding.

Unisa and the University of the North West are both working on developing the education framework for coding, the DBE said.

Those universities are also supporting the DBE to develop a coding platform which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to customise teaching and learning. That platform will be available in all 11 languages.

“There are plans in place to train at least three teachers in each of the 16 000 primary schools to teach coding.

“The implementation of Coding in the system will be preceded by a pilot project in 50 schools in five provinces during 2019, to ready the system and to ensure that the schools are prepared for full implementation post 2020,” said the DBE.

What is coding?
Coding makes it possible to create computer software, applications and websites. These are made using a specific coding language.

For example, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are used to construct websites, where HTML sets out the bare bones of a website, CSS is the design component which dictates colours and fonts, and JavaScript is the engine behind the website’s functionality.

So how does coding help children?

The “four C’s of coding” enable pupils to make sense of the digital world and develop crucial skills for the future job market.

1. Confidence

It encourages pupils to maintain a “can-do” attitude towards solving difficult problems. One of the coding concepts taught is debugging, where a coder has to identify and fix a bug. This process takes perseverance, and once it’s solved there is a sense of achievement and emboldened confidence in their coding abilities.

2. Creativity

Coding encourages experimentation, making mistakes, exploring ideas and questioning assumptions. In doing so, pupils develop the mindset for creative thinking. Instead of being passive technology users, they become active inventors and innovators.

3. Collaboration

Working in teams is an essential life skill. Coding may be seen as an independent task, but it calls for collaboration and group work, since many projects or apps are designed by teams. Coding projects also involve liaising with and presenting ideas to clients.

4. Computational thinking

By starting young, children will be better prepared to succeed and thrive in the 21st century. Computational thinking provides children with a new way of thinking that can be used to solve a variety of problems.

Here are five coding languages you should look at if you’re interested in coding. These will allow you to create a fully responsive website.

1. HTML — Think of a website as a human body, with HTML — or Hypertext Markup Language — being the skeletal structure. HTML is the most basic level of a website where the coder inputs all the components in plain text.

2. CSS — If HTML is the skeleton, then CSS is the clothing. CSS — or Cascading Style Sheet — allows the coder to input colours and fonts and rearrange components — also known as elements — and design the website as required.

3. JavaScript — Think of JavaScript as the organs: it isn’t seen, but is the engine that keeps the website ticking. JavaScript is used to create more sophisticated parts to a website. Ever see a website where photos or words come out of nowhere to invade the screen? That’s the work of JavaScirpt.

4. JQuery — JQuery is a library of JavaScript functions, making it easier for the coder to code certain functions.

5. PhP — or Hypertext Processor — is a server side language which allows the coder to include a server on the website. A server is used for, among other things, storing usernames and passwords. Facebook, for example, relies on PhP to store users’ information.

How do I even start?

You can learn a number of coding languages right now and all you need is an internet connection. Here’s how:

1. Use online tutorials — free guides, like W3Schools for example, are available to help you learn programming languages and also have solutions to commonly experienced coding problems.

2. YouTube — There are several “code along” videos to get you into the groove of coding. There are also channels offering step-by-step tutorials for every language.

3. Try it out — You learn by doing, and coding is no different. Let’s say you want to design websites: take a website you like which has a simple design and try to code it yourself. Online resources like GitHub­ also offer countless examples for you to test out.

4. Google it — Encountering stumbling blocks is inevitable but rest assured as dozens of people have had the same problem and have posted a solution.

What the analysts say

Analysis felt the move to adopt coding in schools was a positive one, but say implementation could be a challenge.

Dr Anthea Cereseto, the national CEO of the Governing Body Foundation, said while the foundation had not yet adopted a standpoint on the issue, the country could not risk being “left behind” while technology advances.

“We will advise schools to keep up with modern advances and coding is part of the future. The problem is with funding, and while we can’t neglect coding, attention must also be given to other shortfalls,” she said.

Cereseto said the department needed to weigh covering “essentials”, like early childhood development, while implementing coding: “There is a finite budget and the department has to prioritise properly. Recently, department expenditure has been declining.”

She added: “It should also be broadly rolled out and can’t only be introduced in elite pockets. Right now only the elite can get [coding] training if they pay for it, and some schools offer it. But it needs to be rolled out in schools or else the equity gap will be increased.”

Cereseto said training teachers would be another challenge: “Learning coding is not an overnight thing. They need to be trained properly and then we need the resources because something like coding can’t just be theoretical.”

Education analyst Professor Labby Ramrathan­ said: “It’s a big step, and introducing coding is more useful than introducing more languages. It would allow the curriculum to align itself with education for relevance.”

He said the DBE’s pilot roll-out will provide a sense of what is needed for proper implementation.

Tech guru Arthur Goldstuck said learning coding was like learning another language, as it will allow young people to understand the advancing world.

“It is wonderful to expose children to it and they will find a whole new world open up, but teachers generally don’t learn new concepts and we can’t start rolling it out until that happens.

“Resources are another challenge, but if money is taken from places where there is misspending and put in education there should be no problem,” Goldstruck said.

He added that schools should also look at teaching entrepreneurial skills, which go hand-in-hand with freelance coding and collaborating with other people.

It’s all the rage

Pupils are enthusiastic about coding, and it allows them to improve their creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

This is according to advocates for taking coding to the youth who run workshops at schools and offer coding training.

Stefan Louw, the co-founder of the CodeSpace Foundation, said learning how to code made technology more meaningful to pupils, and that it allowed pupils to think creatively to solve problems.

The foundation tasks pupils with project-based work in order to build their skills.

“When you’re learning, you’re making mental models and building things up in your mind, and when you’re applying that knowledge, you’re building something in your mind — that’s when you’re really learning effectively.

“The theory suggests that it’s by working through problems that are part of a larger project that students are able to ‘build’ the learning that will stick with them to be applied to future problems,” he said.

He added that his foundation will soon introduce robotics to schools.

“The job market is already experiencing a massive shift as automation becomes a reality: low-skill or unskilled labour is increasingly automated, but it’s definitely not all bad news.

“There’s a considerable opportunity for employment in this field, and a tech education can allow South Africa to leapfrog into a position of frontrunner in the world of innovation, if we’re able to provide tech education that will allow us to meet the worldwide demand for skilled, talented programmers.”

He said the current school system was “outdated” and there was now the opportunity to integrate IT to the point where it enhances learning across classes.

CodeJIKA, a non-profit which takes coding to schools, echoed Louw, saying that young people would not understand the demands of the new job market without being exposed to coding at an early age.

According to CodeJIKA, who have established pupil-run coding clubs in high schools, contrary to the perception that advanced computer skills are only valuable in IT professions, over 70% of computing jobs are outside that industry.

The organisation believes a knowledge of computer science is increasingly critical in research, finance and manufacturing.

Source: Study International

Move aside standard-shaped erasers and scentless highlighters and welcome to the stationery of today’s generation.

With its extra glitz and glamour, school apparatus that stands out like this is referred to as fashion stationery.

Taking the school market by storm, educators and companies are desperate to the get their hands on global market reports that sum up the trends, forecasts and analysis of the global stationery scene so they can gain the upper hand.

The demand for fashionable stationary is so huge that even the premium brand, Louis Vuitton, has cashed in on the trends with a stylish set of monogrammed pencils and portable cases.

Are these flashy stationery items distracting students from their work?

Let’s be honest – if you’re at your desk and you’re not paying attention to the teacher, then of course your set of animal-shaped erasers or yummy smelly scented ink pens are going to provide the perfect distraction.

That’s why two years ago, this British teacher requested a ban on fashion stationery.

In his opinion, “Some of this stationery should not be allowed in the classroom because it’s really only a distraction. Nobody really needs a pencil sharpener that’s shaped like a nail varnish pot and nobody really needs a pencil case with six different compartments.”

However, some students may disagree.

With so many fluffy and fun school items to choose from, how can young learners resist?

At the age where anything seems possible, it makes sense that kids want to take abstract backpacks and glow-in-the-dark apparatus to school – especially if ‘show and tell’ is a regular occurrence.

Distraction or not, wouldn’t it be odd to ban a student’s personal stationery in an age where K12 education is being steered towards conducive and creative learning environments?

It’s easy to see how the eyes of young learners move away from the whiteboard and onto kitsch stationery items, but there are ways of integrating both.

For instance, matching the scented highlighter up to the picture of the fruit on the page and asking elementary students to join the two together by colouring it in, or using fashion stationery as a prize for the weekly quiz.

There are many ways for teachers to engage with this trend – go ahead and even embrace it.

Make school stationery last

Source: Jacaranda FM

It’s back to school which means parents are expected to buy a list of school stationery as long as their arm for their kids.
Stationery can be costly and because of that, it needs to last. These tips below will help you ensure that your child’s school stationery lasts longer and will save you some money.

Buy good quality stationery
Good quality products last longer. Avoid buying things just because they are cheaper. It’s better to invest in quality stationery than finding yourself having to buy more stationery during the year, which might turn out to be costlier.

Remember to compare prices from different stores. You might get good quality products for less by comparing prices.

Organise your stationery
There is nothing worse than coming home to find your child’s stationery scattered all over the floor or in multiple rooms. Not only does this make your house untidy, but it can also result in your child losing some of the stationery. So, teach your children how to organise their stationery and to pack it away tidily.

Make a list
Keeping track of the stationery will ensure that your child doesn’t lose items without realising it. Set aside time for them either daily, or weekly where they check the list and ensure they haven’t lost anything

Ensure your child’s stationery is marked
Children often misplace or get their stationery mixed up. Marking your child’s stationery will ensure that they can easily identify it.

Buy a big enough school bag and space case
If your child’s school bag or space case is too small, they might end up damaging their stationery. Buy a big enough school bag that has the compartments they need for different items. Also get a space case so that they can pack all their stationery in one place.

Take proper care of stationery
Teach your children to handle their stationery with care. This means teaching them the importance of replacing tops on pens and markers, replacing the top on their glue sticks and keeping crayons and colouring pencils packed in the box.

By Sne Masuku for IOL

Black publishers and stationery service providers in KwaZulu-Natal have criticised the provincial Department of Education for awarding its R263-million stationery/textbook contract to one company to distribute these items to all public schools in the province. They claimed they were being put out of business.

The publishers and service providers, who own medium and small businesses, had previously serviced Section 21 schools. They alleged the new central procurement system tender awarded to one company in 2014 had expired in 2016, but the contract had been renewed for the past two years “illegally and uncompetitively”.

Complaints by the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) Forum, comprised of representatives of the affected businesses, threatened legal action against the central procurement system and planned to challenge the legality of the tender. Should this matter end up in court, it would be the fourth procurement tender of the provincial department taken to court.

The department’s Nutrition Programme, the Scholar Transport Programme and the sanitary pads tender, worth millions, were some of the tenders suspected of irregularities, with some going to court.

Last week, the forum lodged a complaint with the provincial portfolio committee on education. The service providers asked the committee to escalate their matter to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga after their requests for a meeting with department officials were allegedly ignored.

Most schools had waited nearly a year for the department to give them funds for books and stationery.

Later in the year, the department, through a circular, advised schools that quotes which had exceeded 20% of the catalogue price including VAT, transport costs and other costs, would be migrated to the central procurement system using the service provider appointed by the department.

Service providers which supplied Section 21 schools with their stationery lost business when the department migrated their orders with private service providers to a company it had appointed.

“We are questioning why the department was so eager in doing business with a company that does not have a valid contract.

“The department is deliberately delaying payment of Section 21 school funds to take away business from us. The intention is to create a new monopoly in the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) business,” said Mandla Shangase, the interim LTSM Forum chairperson.

According to the South African Schools Act, Section 21 schools which chose to order through private service providers had a right to do so.

This time, schools were told not to confirm their orders before they received a written confirmation from the department that the funds had been transferred.

A multidisciplinary task team appointed by Motshekga is currently investigating allegations of misappropriation of funds levelled by the National Teachers’ Union against the provincial department.

Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said any contractual obligations that the department may have with service providers remained confidential.

He said the department would never be involved in unlawful activities because they believed in good governance and transparency.

DIY homework caddies

Professional organiser Harmony Seiter has provided a step-by-step guide to creating an at-home homework station.

A homework caddy is great for small spaces, multi-purpose spaces, and for kids who love to do their homework on the floor or away from a desk or table.

• Find a caddy or a tray you like.
o You can find caddies of all shapes and sizes in many sections of a retailer (such as baby, bathroom, kitchen)
o You may need to add other containers to separate supplies

Watch the video here.

• Your needs will vary depending on the age of your kids.
o Primary grades may need crayons, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, pencil sharpener, erasers, colored pencils, a ruler, tape, paper, and possibly subject folders.
o Middle schoolers and high schoolers may need a calculator, pens, pencils, highlighters, pencil sharpener, erasers, stapler or paper clips, paper, glue sticks, loose leaf paper, sticky notes, tape, and subject folders.

• Place your homework caddy in an easy to reach spot for your student. It’s easily mobile, but make sure it`s brought to the same spot at the end of the day so homework time is always easy to manage. In many homes such as the Perth 2 storey homes, the workstation comes inbuilt. These homes are designed in a way that they grab the attention of a passerby at the same time also give you the assurance of security and the personal workspace design inside the house will help you do all your office work at home easily without any problem.

The homes of the new age all have special places inside the rooms where people can do their office or even school work without any disturbance. The lighting in these rooms is attached in a manner that they don’t hark the human eye and thus allow you to do more work without any worry.

Whether you keep it in your dedicated office or your kitchen pantry, a homework station will give your student all the tools she needs to successfully finish the day’s assignments.

Source: www.fox13now.com

 

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