After dedicating more than 47 years to improving the education system in the province, the head of the Western Cape’s Education Department (WCED), Brian Schreuder had his last day at the office on Wednesday.
Schreuder, who retired yesterday, said it has been “an unbelievable privilege” to work with the people.
He said there have been fantastic principals, committed teachers, wonderful officials, and “particularly the amazing children of this province and this country”.
“I am very proud of the initiatives launched during my time.
“The literacy and numeracy strategies were an example, the e-learning strategy that has now moved to digital learning and blended learning will set them on the way for real 21st-century education,” he said.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said it was a sad day in their head office, as they say goodbye to two wonderful colleagues and influential leaders in the organization.
Hammond said Schreuder and Dr Peter Beets, the deputy director-general: curriculum and assessment management retired yesterday.
“As Schreuder retires, we have been celebrating his achievements, but also mourning the loss of a giant in the education sector.”
She said he was like a father to her.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer wished Schreuder a restful and relaxing retirement.
She said, his character clearly does not lend itself to too much leisure.
“I have no doubt that he will continue to make a contribution to our cause of delivering quality education to every learner in our province, or wherever else he has the opportunity,” said Schäfer.
Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas) deputy provincial manager Tony Marshall said Schreuder has led through wholesome, inclusive values that Fedsas Western Cape has been able to support.
Marshall said he managed the WCED always in the best interests of the learners, and they have been most supportive and appreciative of his championing quality in SGB governance and professional management and was accessible at all times.
Brent Walters, the newly appointed HOD, said he was very excited to take over the job which was filled with Schreuder’s big shoes, and was looking forward to living through the vision of quality education for every learner, classroom, and school in the province.
ANC provincial spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed said he hoped that Schreuder would continue to share his perspectives on the administration and management of education as an experienced official.
Sayed said his (Schreuder’s) term has been characterized by a good sense of responsiveness and healthy engagement to matters raised by the ANC while on the other hand a poor level of transformation in demographics at the level of education leadership.
“We hope that the new HOD will be given the political support to improve in this regard,” he said.
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