East London – A number of interventions are expected to be implemented in the Eastern Cape in a bid to turn around the performance of the provincial Department of Education.
Effective learning and teaching in the province could not start when the schools opened last week due to various problems including the recent termination of temporary teachers which posed serious challenges to teaching and learning, displaced teachers who have been occupying office jobs at the district offices instead of being put in their right jobs, a lack of infrastructure, the suspension of scholar transport since 2011 due to lack of funds as well as problems with the school nutrition programme.
The situation led to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga flying to the province to assess the situation on Wednesday.
Motshekga, accompanied by Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty as well as department officials, met with the provincial education management assessed the state of education and identify problems that can be addressed immediately.
Among the interventions the minister has committed to are building more than 50 schools this year to address the shortage of infrastructure in a province which currently has more than 300 mud schools.
A further 100 schools will also be built next year.
“The elimination of mud schools in this province will now be driven by the national Department, the money has been allocated for the building of 50 schools this year, next year we will build 100 and in the following years we would have been able to get rid of all mud schools in the province,” Motshekga said.
She explained that they will first deal with schools with more than 300 learners, while the rest where they will have to combine about three schools will deal with them at a later stage.
Motshekga has also asked the provincial department to restart the schools nutrition programme with immediate effect to learners who qualify through the conditional grant, Quintiles 1, 2 and 3.
She explained that the province ran out of funds for schools nutritional programme because it did not follow the policy but offered the programme to all quintiles. “They will have to go back to the policy, which caters for quintiles 1, 2 and 3 in primary schools and added quantiles 1 and 2 in high schools,” she said.
The province meanwhile assured Motshekga that a process was in place to ensure that the schools get a minimum of teachers and has also lifted the suspension of scholar transport especially in outlying rural schools.
Through assistance from national Department, additional capacity will be identified to assist the province’s Human Resource Development. All interventions will be made with immediate effect.
Source – BuaNews – By Gabi Khumalo