Provincial Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, with learners of the Kangala Primary School in Willowvale.

Provincial Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, with learners of the Kangala Primary School in Willowvale.

Recent visits by DA Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, to various schools in the province again highlighted a lack of infrastructure and teachers. In most cases pleas from schools to the Department of Education have been unsuccessful.

 Below is the full report, submitted by Van Vuuren to the Department of Education for feedback:

 ET Thabane Primary School – Ugie – Sterkspruit District – 04 March 2013

The only Primary school in Ugie was built in 1984.  The condition is tumbled-down and not conducive to teaching and learning. It is also a health hazard.  Teachers cannot teach effectively because of the dilapidated state of the infrastructure and this has resulted in many dropouts.  There are no shortages of teachers, nor is there a lack of dedication, but one critical problem that hampers growth is the building which has fallen into disrepair.

The school has interacted on numerous occasions with the Department of Education regarding the unsafe and dilapidated condition of the building and their intervention to refurbish the school, but all their requests have fallen on deaf ears. Upon inspection in loco, it was clear that the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape had failed these learners and should be taken to task for endangering the lives of these minors.  There are classrooms without windows and it is expected of learners to perform when conditions are not conducive.

I sincerely hope that the Department has made an assessment of these trying conditions at ET Thabane and that the necessary intervention pertaining to the refurbishment or the replacement of the structure will take place within the immediate future.

I will ask for an update on the Department’s interventions.

Barkly East High School – Barkly East – Sterkspruit District – 04 March 2013

The post establishment at the school is 18.  Currently there are eight permanent and three temporary posts.

The school advertised two posts in local newspapers in December 2012, but no teachers in the Eastern Cape fitted the profiles of the vacancies. Two teachers from Gauteng Education Department has shown interest – they fit the profiles of these substantive vacant posts – and are willing to be transferred if the Department in the Eastern Cape agrees to them being transferred.  There are currently no teachers on the redeployed list that fits the profile of these posts.

By refusing these qualified teachers from Gauteng to come to Barkley East is to openly refuse our learners the right to basic education.

I am appealing to the Department, in the interest of access to education, to accede to the request of Barkly East to have these teachers assigned through transfers to their school and or alternately allow them to advertise in the education bulletin and to open these posts to those residing beyond the boundaries of the Eastern Cape

Mary Waters Secondary School – Grahamstown District – 11 April 2013

The school has a staff establishment of 35 and currently has 27 permanent teachers of which two have been on long extended sick leave.  Substitutes were provided in the first term only.

One of these teachers had a stroke, yet the Department refused to approve ill health retirement.  One other teacher, teaching Afrikaans to the Grade 12 learners was booked off until 20 May 2013. Will a substitute teacher be appointed, considering the grade that must be taught or will the school have to make their own plans?

The school was allocated six temporary teachers in April 2013 until 31 May 2013.  The school is still in need of five teachers, substitutes included.  There are classes without teachers and some classes in Grades 10 and 11 have never been taught in certain subjects.

Learners from Grades 8 and 9 were promoted in 2012 without having received tuition.  The Department raised no questions on the matter.

It has also come to my attention that the substitutes appointed have not received their salaries.

The school is also struggling with a lack of non-teaching staff.   The Department’s moratorium regarding the appointment of non-teaching staff must be lifted.  When will the court judgement pertaining to the appointment of non-teaching staff be implemented?

The school also has no fencing on its perimeter and the lack of it compromises the security and safety of both learners and educators – there is an informal sector nearby which also contributes to the security risk.

Alexandria Combined School – Grahamstown District – 11 April 2013

The school has had a staff establishment of 24 but has had to do with 14 permanent teachers and no temporary teachers. The school introduced a volunteer programme in January 2013, whereby they recalled eight of the temporary teachers that were attached to the school in 2012, as well as appointing three parents as teacher aides.  They were paid between R50 and R150 per day in the first term from money raised by the school.

All these posts filled by the volunteers were advertised in an education bulletin in 2012, but no appointments were made.  Up to now the Department has not given any reasons for not processing the applications and finalising the appointments.

There are educators who are teaching Grade R who have successfully completed their National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE) through bursaries obtained from the Department.  These teachers are now over-qualified for Grade R teaching.  Will they be absorbed into the system or will they remain in the Grade R cohort without any prospect of being made permanent?

Alexandria Combined School is also one of the schools without any fully equipped Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD).  The Department has budgeted R446, 4 million for the establishment of 122 such centres.  Alexandria is in need of two ECD centres.

The school was built to accommodate only 400 learners. Currently they have almost 700 learners and accommodation is a serious problem. They need at least four mobile classrooms to relieve the overcrowding.   Is the hostel of Alexandria on the list of 74 to be refurbished? If not why not, if so when will refurbishment commence at this hostel.

The lack of fencing is compromising the discipline and safety of both learners and teachers – Please intervene and rectify.

Humansdorp Secondary School – Uitenhage District – 12 April 2013

The staff establishment for 2013 is 69 teachers for 2 095 learners.  This is the biggest Secondary School in the Uitenhage District.

The school is very popular and competitive – It has not performed below 90% in the last three Grade 12 results.  Why doesn’t the Department encourage and support such performing schools by allocating all the necessary resources?

The total number of learners at the school would suggest that we have two schools within one.  Based on this assumption it is unfair to treat the school the same as ordinary secondary schools when it comes to the allocation of post level 2 and 3 teachers.  Senior staff should be doubled, taking the circumstances into consideration. Why can’t this school be classified as a Mega-school with a differentiated grading compared to other ordinary secondary schools that have half the enrolment?

Currently the school has 51 permanently appointed teachers and 12 temporary appointees.  The school needs six temporary teachers.  They have appointed six voluntary teachers, paying them a stipend to ensure there is a teacher in each and every classroom – this is not fair.  It will be appreciated if the two post level 2 teachers be appointed without delay and that the Principal-post be finalised as a matter of urgency.

LSEN learners are assisted on a voluntary basis by retired teachers – there is no support from the Department.

Mobile classrooms have been provided without furniture.

This is one of the few jewels of our previously disadvantaged schools that is a credit to the Department – go that extra mile for this performing school.

Sanctor Secondary School – Port Elizabeth District – 12 April 2013

The post establishment for 2013 is 42 teachers. Currently there are 29 teachers appointed permanently. The school has 13 vacant posts. The school lost about three weeks of teaching as a result of non-appointment of temporary teachers when schools opened for the 2013 academic year.   This had an influence on discipline and teaching outcomes.

The school has subsequently been allocated 13 temporary teachers.  When is the school going to be reimbursed for SGB appointed teachers into substantive vacant posts for 2012 and 2013 – if not why not, please provide me with reasons

A bulletin was issued with promotion posts to be filled at the school – Interviews were conducted and recommendations forwarded to the Department – Why then, has no appointments been made?

The school is requesting that the Department avail funds not utilised for the 2013 textbooks to be used to purchase textbooks for Grade 10s, as there is currently a huge shortage of textbooks.  This was as a result of inadequate funds during the 2011 academic year.

General questions for the Superintendent General of the Department of Education in the EC – 15 April 2013

1.1  Post Provisioning


1.1.1          How many temporary teachers in total will be appointed at schools prior to the movement of excess teachers in the Eastern Cape?

1.1.2          How many teachers on the redeployment list fit the profiles of substantive vacant posts in the Eastern Cape?

1.1.3          When and how will temporary teachers be made permanent?

1.1.4          How many of the current crop of temporary teachers employed at schools will be made permanent?

1.1.5          What will happen to appointments in mainly Afrikaans and dual medium schools where redeployed teachers do not fit those substantive vacant post profiles?

1.1.6          What plan of action does the Department have for those teachers in excess that cannot be reassigned due to their non-matching of existing posts?

1.1.7          What plan of action is envisaged for those teachers in excess that have been identified to be redeployed, but who blatantly refuses reassignments?

1.1.8          Are Funsha Lushaka bursary holders part of the temporary teachers, if not how are they managed and how many of the 600+ of them will be permanently appointed, and when will their status change?

1.1.9          Why did you issue an education bulletin in 2012 with both post level 1 and promotion posts advertised, instruct schools to conduct interviews and to submit recommendations, yet no appointments have been made?

1.1.10      What happens after 30 June 2013 if processes within the Post Provisioning did not go according to plan as a result of resistance or non-cooperation from stakeholders?

1.2  Other general questions to the SG of the Department of Education in the EC – 15 April 2013

1.1.11      Why were schools penalised for submitting their Annual Financial Statements in Afrikaans by only paying the second tranche of their 2012 funding as per the norms and standards in April 2013?

1.1.12      When will schools receive their paper budgets as per the funding per national norms and standards – It is almost time for schools to receive their first tranche, yet weeks into the second term there is still no sign of paper budgets being forwarded to schools?

1.1.13      The Department has delivered mobile classrooms to schools, yet no furniture was provided – Is this the current norm that mobile units will be provided without the necessary accessories needed for these classrooms? Can I also be provided with a list of schools that have received mobile units as well as those that have not received any furniture? Does the Department comply with a minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure, if not, why not, if so what are these minimum norms and standards applicable to school infrastructure?

1.1.14      What is the delay in reimbursing schools that have paid SGB appointed teachers who were employed in substantive vacant posts in 2012 and 2013? Have the consultative processes regarding rationalisation of small and viable schools been concluded – if not, why not, if so, when will the lists of these identified schools be released and when does the Department envisaged implementation?

1.1.15      What arrangement, if any does the Department have with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality regarding the fixing of water leaks at public ordinary schools – If so, how many schools within the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have been affected by these water leaks, how many of these water leaks have been repaired and who is responsible for paying the workers that have fixed these water leaks? Has the Department taken the necessary steps to monitor the fixing of these water leaks and to pay the workers or to reimburse the Municipality for having these water leaks fixed through a programme of utilising the services of unemployed plumbers?

1.1.16      Have all schools that have exempted learners from paying school fees been reimbursed – if not why not, if so when were they reimbursed and at what amount per learner?