Pupils, educators and parents should work together to improve education and learning at schools, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
“Our children should be taught in secure environments… which affirm their dignity as citizens of this beautiful country,” Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery.
He was addressing the official opening of the Kensington High School in Cape Town, attended also by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Western Cape premier Helen Zille, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and education MEC Debbie Schafer.
Zuma referred to certain “non-negotiables” that pupils, educators and the community should adhere to.
“All teachers and learners should be in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching for at least seven hours each day,” he said.
He said pupils should “embrace the culture of reading,” and focus on gateway subjects such as science, technology and mathematics.
“Do not fear these subjects. Indicate to your teachers where you need additional assistance. It will be provided,” said Zuma.
Pupils were also urged to avoid gang activity and substance abuse.
“Success will come from the books that you read here every day, from doing your homework, giving your best on the sports field and following the advice of your teachers in the classroom,” said Zuma.
“This school and the education you will receive here provide the best opportunity for you to change your life for the better, forever.”
Parents should get actively involved in the education of their children, said Zuma.
“This may include ensuring that educators are in class on time teaching for at least seven hours a day,” he said.
“You have to ensure that children do their homework and arrive at school on time, pay attention during the learning process, respecting the school property and educators.”
The community should ensure the safety of the school and its facilities.
“It is your responsibility to jealously guard these facilities as they now belong to you all,” said Zuma.
Zuma said the opening of the school was an indication that government was delivering on the demand for the right to education, which was enshrined in both the Freedom Charter, as well as the Constitution.
“The official handover of this state-of-the-art school, here in the Western Cape, is living proof that we are on course to deliver on the demands of the people as laid down in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic.” SAPA