Gauteng Education MEC, Matome Chiloane, says the department has placed an emphasis on readying school infrastructure ahead of the new school year which kicks off tomorrow.
The MEC said as part of the back to school campaign, the department together with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, will officially open the school year at the newly built Mapenane Secondary School in Garankuwa.
Members of Gauteng’s executive council will also conduct oversight visits to schools to ensure that learners and teachers are in class, on time and with the correct learning and teaching resources.
“What we have done during the last academic year as well as during the holiday, is to maintain or fix a number of schools…the numbers are at 488 schools and that is continuing in terms of maintenance of schools.
“Because there’s an interlink in terms of building schools…we have a self-built programme and in that programme we are looking to build 878 classrooms to assist us to deal with placement so we have given that to 297 schools,” he said on Tuesday.
The MEC said an issue of concern for the department is continued vandalism at schools.
He revealed that some 120 schools have been affected by vandalism since the beginning of the 2022 academic year with 24 schools vandalised during the December holiday period.
“This is becoming a bottomless bucket. When we fix a school, set up infrastructure, set in resources for learners and educators to perform their duties, then you have criminals who come and disrupt.
“In most cases, these criminals stay in our communities. We continue to appeal to communities to work with us to deal with the scourge of vandalism. It’s really reversing the good work that we are doing as a department, community and as a country,” he said.
Water and sanitation
In terms of water and sanitation interventions, Chiloane said the department has noted that there are areas where there are water supply problems and is dealing with that.
“We are providing water tankers to provide water in those areas. And here we are also appealing to communities to help us…to allow those that have been given an opportunity to go and deliver this water to our children to allow them to do so uninterrupted,” he said.
Some 20 emergency sanitation units have also been provided to alleviate shortages in schools.
Learning and teaching
Chiloane appealed to non-governmental organisations and civil society groups who will be embarking on back to school campaigns on Wednesday to not disrupt learning and teaching.
“If you have agreed with the schools to come in the morning to motivate and support our learners and educators, we don’t have a problem as long as you have been authorised to do that.
“Education is big and requires all of us to have our hands on deck and we don’t mind that as long as you don’t disrupt learning and teaching,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency