Dept’s denial an obstacle to quality education – DA NCape

How we can catch up on the academic time lost from last year if we don’t use every day of 2021 term fully?

Dept’s denial an obstacle to quality education

16 February 2021

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape identified critical shortcomings in our oversight visits to schools across the province. Every visit contradicts the department’s briefing last week on school readiness.

While the department reported that 97% of schools received stationary and everyone had enough textbooks, for example, shortages of learner and teacher support materials (LTSM) remains a challenge at primary and high schools alike. An estimated 42% of schools did not receive their textbooks in time to teach from the first day of school.

Retrieval rates reported by schools range from 80% to 90%, which shows that schools are playing their part. We now need the department to play their part too. One school has an urgent need of LTSM to the estimated amount of R430 000 before it can begin with meaningful schooling.

If we cannot use every day of 2021 fully, how can we catch up on the academic time lost from last year?

The lack of textbooks isn’t the only concern. There are 35 schools in need of mobile classrooms, 14 schools with erratic water supply, 9 schools with sanitation challenges, and almost 17 000 learners without furniture. This doesn’t begin to account for the recent flood damage, which flooded 27 schools and washed away the learner transport routes to another 127 schools.

We will therefore request an emergency briefing from the Portfolio Committee on Education, so that we can follow up on possible solutions to these problems. We will also be submitting parliamentary questions to assess contingency plans and progress in resolving critical education challenges.

It is time for the department to put their cards on the table and show us what was done to fix these problems. A department in denial is a department that will deny our children their access to quality education.

Issued by Priscilla Isaacs,DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Education, 16 February 2021