Education MEC Cameron Dugmore has lauded the community of Hanover Park for their efforts to revive the area with the launch of the Hanover Park Education Sector.
Speaking at the launch yesterday (Monday, 27 November), Dugmore said he was proud of the initiative.
"The Hanover Park community is taking to heart what President Thabo Mbeki said when he spoke about the People's Contract to fight against poverty and for work.
The people are uniting in an effort to make Hanover Park and the Western Cape a healthier home," he told a crowd of about 500 people at the packed Belmor School hall.
The sector's launch will ensure that governmental departments are more willing to work with organisations within the area, said Dugmore.
"All the local organisations that may have a role to play in education can now link to the Education Sector and, because they are organised, they will articulate their needs better. The more people notice this articulation and unity, the more each school's needs will be considered."
The Education Sector is the first of various sectors to be established in Hanover Park. These range from Community Safety and Tourism, to Business and Health, among others. All will serve the community under the umbrella of the Hanover Park Development Forum.
Spokesperson Rodney Theys says the Forum, which has not yet officially been launched, aims to revive the area.
"After the gang violence earlier this year, we were listening to a radio show featuring a spokesperson for the Proudly Manenberg Campaign and we got to thinking that our community is just as in need of a revival as Manenberg was when they started theirs."
Essentially, the Development Forum aims to be a networking body that will communicate the aims of all the organisations which it represents, says Theys.
"As we were a group of principals discussing our concerns, we thought we could initiate the launch through education and set an example."
The group has drafted a 10-year plan addressing the problems teachers and pupils face in Hanover Park. "We have many problems such as truancy, high drop-out rates, drugs, numeracy and literacy drawbacks and teacher-pupil ratios."
The sector has targeted these problems with a comprehensive approach, focusing on four key areas:
- A school plan calling for smaller classes, more parental involvement and a request that the Education Department scrap all school fees for all pupils;
- More involvement in sport in a bid to deter children from joining gangs;
- A youth programme that will foster and develop the youth into becoming positive, contributing members to society; and
- A safe school plan focusing on school infrastructure such as closed circuit televisions, alarms and other security measures.
Commenting on the plan, Dugmore said the sector had laid their requests on the table but would now need to work on realising them. "I understand many of the problems you are experiencing and we too would like to see smaller classrooms and safer schools. This launch is not the beginning or the end of the process. The plan now needs action, and in the new year we hope to meet with representatives to decide how to take the process further."
Dugmore also mentioned that the sector would be receiving one of the projects on its wish list. "We understand that the community has been asking for a multi-purpose centre for quite some time. I have set aside R2,5 million for a school hall at Mountview High, which will be used by all the schools."
The education department is hoping to model the hall as a multi-purpose centre, so that communities can also use it. Plans are in the process and building is set to begin in 2007.