Lesufi has overseen huge schools shortage - AfriForum

Organisation says MEC should not use this as an excuse to undermine still functional schools in province

Shortage of Gauteng schools may not lead to the undermining of functional schools 

25 October 2017

AfriForum is holding the Gauteng Department of Education responsible for the shortage of schools in the province. The civil rights organisation warns that the Department’s inability to manage its budget, as well as its inability to make provision for the growing number of learners in the province, may not serve as excuse to cram additional learners into functional schools and in so doing undermining the functionality of these schools. This commentary follows after Panyaza Lesufi, MEC of Education in Gauteng, announced that more than 63 000 learners are yet to be placed in schools for 2018. 

“The Department’s expenditure on administrative personnel as well as on luxuries such as to purchase tablets for learners and to create an online schools registration platform, has led to a situation which entails the shortage of 195 schools in the province,” says Carien Bloem, AfriForum’s Project Coordinator for Education.

According to the Department of Education, 17 new schools have been built over the course of the past two years, while there is however statistics available that approximately 120 schools have been closed down from 2010 up until now. “If the Department rather focussed on spending money on the development of infrastructure and the rehabilitation of dysfunctional schools instead of playing political games with functional schools with regard to issues such as language policies, the school placement crisis would have been much smaller,” says Bloem. 

“The Department’s inability to properly utilise its budget and the continuous attempt to interfere in the management and ethos of schools, brings one to the conclusion that communities that are serious about the future of high-quality education in the country will increasingly need to consider alternative education options. This includes private education models that make provision for all learners and not only the rich among us,” concludes Bloem. 

AfriForum is currently busy gaining a legal opinion regarding the amendment bill of the Schools Act and will soon reveal commentary regarding it.     

Issued by Carien Bloem, Project Coordinator: Education, AfriForum, 25 October 2017