SCHOOL READINESS IN THE EASTERN CAPE OR ARE THEY?

The Democratic Alliance has learnt with trepidation that, while some of the Section 21 schools in the province have procured textbooks and stationery, the majority have been hampered by the late payment of the second tranche by the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape.

This second tranche represents 50% of the balance of the legislated monies paid to the schools on an annual basis and calculated on the quintile status of the school. The second tranche was only transferred into the banking accounts of schools during November/December 2009, resulting in the late placement of book orders and the subsequent late- or non-delivery thereof.

The DA has also been reliably informed that most Section 20 schools in the Kouga-, Chris Hani-, Alfred Nzo-, Uitenhage- and Port Elizabeth Districts have not received their stationery. The manufacturers who have secured the tender for the delivery of stationery have, as per their contract with the Department, until 11 February 2010 to deliver the goods to these effected schools.

The DA is deeply aggrieved that the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape has once more illustrated that the needs of the learners are not a priority and has therefore, once again horribly failed our learners. Our learners could not record or do any productive school work as contemplated by the MEC for Education, Mr. Mahlubandile Qwase.

This Department has failed to plan properly and timeously, and because of their lack of vision our learners are the ultimate sufferers. This situation is untenable and must be rectified sooner than later.

It was also reported that at some schools in the Chris Hani District it was allegedly expected of parents to contribute R180 towards obtaining stationery for their learners. If so, this is unacceptable and totally disgusting. The Department should as a matter of urgency investigate these accusations of fraudulent activities and expose and act against the perpetrators.

Schools in the Eastern Cape have also intimated that they are awaiting the formal announcements in writing of the changes announced in the OBE curriculum. This delay and uncertainty about what to implement, impacts negatively on the planning for the forthcoming academic year.

The Democratic Alliance wishes all schools a most successful academic year and hope that all their dreams and goals will be achieved.

For further information, please contact Edmund van Vuuren, MPL on 072 184 7840