Providing students with a sound education is the responsibility of the Department of Education, Cape Town. The department’s primary objectives are to provide quality learning opportunities for all learners and to develop a comprehensive, inclusive, and holistic education system that is accessible to all. It is the department’s mission to achieve these objectives by ensuring that teachers have the support they need to be effective in the classroom and in the school environment, that the curriculum is relevant and appropriate, and that the teaching and learning environment is a safe and caring place for all.
Populations without formal education in South Africa
Across South Africa, there are three main types of schools. The ordinary school has English as the main language of teaching and learning. There are also private and special schools. All of them have a similar number of teachers and learners. The ratio of learners to teachers is the same in all provinces.
The average population speaks 2.84 languages. The first language is the most common, followed by the second. In the urban environment, English is the most commonly used language. The other languages are isiZulu, isiXhosa and Sesotho.
The first language of nearly one quarter of the South African population is isiZulu. It is spoken by almost a quarter of the coloured population and by almost a third of the black population. The other three languages are isiXhosa, Sesotho and Setswana. These are the languages of the people of the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Free State.
Primary objectives of the Western Cape Education Department
WCED’s primary objectives are to improve matric results, improve literacy and increase access to quality education in disadvantaged communities. The department has developed a transparent school accountability system and established a number of incentive programmes for schools. It also implemented a system to provide greater choice to teachers in schools that perform well.
The Interactive Telematics Programme uses satellite technology to deliver quality curriculum lessons to schools in the province. It allows WCED to reach a large number of learners. It provides quality individual tutoring and broadcasts lessons from Stellenbosch University. It also includes lessons on artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality and digital literacy.
WCED has also launched a campaign to encourage learners to hand in textbooks. This will help the department buy more books for the coming year. It will also ensure all learners get textbooks at the start of the school year.
School environment in Cape Town
Several studies have been carried out in South Africa to determine whether food environments in schools offer healthier options to learners. Although food environment research has been carried out in high-income countries, a paucity of research has been carried out in low-to-mid-income countries. However, there is growing global interest in the role of the food environment in learning and teaching. Similarly, in South Africa, three studies have examined the availability of foods in schools, and have indicated that there is scope for improvement.
This study explored the food environments of school-aged learners in Cape Town. The study was a multi-method design that incorporated qualitative and quantitative methods. Data was gathered from both household and classroom observations.
The data revealed that there were key dimensions of the food environment in South African households that require further investigation. These included the healthfulness of foods sold in informal food outlets and the home food environment.
Policies guiding the food, nutrition and physical activity environment
During the past decade, South Africa has incorporated national dietary guidelines to improve the food and nutrition environment in schools. The South African Integrated School Health Program (ISHP) addresses both dietary behaviors and environmental issues related to food safety and sustainability. The program aims to contribute to the overall health of secondary school learners, while also addressing nutrition education.
The ISHP includes three health packages that address health and wellbeing of students: life orientation, nutrition education and health services. The program is designed to make the school environment more conducive to healthy eating and physical activity. The NSNP serves as one of the main sources of meals for secondary school learners.
The study evaluated the food and nutrition environment of secondary schools in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The study sampled 16 schools from rural and urban areas close to Cape Town. These schools are primarily located in disadvantaged communities.