The Democratic Alliance believes that due to its role in exposing the dilapidated state of the majority of mud schools in the Eastern Cape, the provincial Department of Education has finally come forward with a model for how these structures will be eradicated.
As a party we applaud the department in reacting to the needs of school communities who have been exposed to these unsafe and unhealthy structures.
However, we do not agree with the modus operandi that learners will be placed in host schools within a 5 km parameter. This plan will cause major disruptions. Most of these “unfit” mud schools are in the deep rural areas of the former Transkei, with no other schools within the parameters anticipated by the department.
Furthermore, the transportation of these learners to the envisaged host schools is problematic. Scholar transport has been in a state of collapse. The school transport tender has not been finalised. No new routes have been added. The majority of the current transport routes are not monitored, resulting in children not being transported to schools. Also, there is not enough budgeted to transport all the deserving learners to school.
Where will the government get the extra funds to transport and monitor the transportation of learners affected by the proposed plan?
The DA proposes that temporary structures be erected on the premises of the existing mud schools, by the implementing agents, until completion of permanent buildings, and then be moved to another site where renovation is to take place.
In this manner the lives of the affected learners will not be disrupted.
The DA calls on the MEC and the HOD of this department to come up with a more practical plan.