Legislature passes DA’s call for establishing no-fee, online public schooling in EC

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Education

The Eastern Cape Department of Education must, with all haste, put together plans for the launch of a no-fee, public online school, and provide feedback to the provincial portfolio committee on Education within 30 days.

This was the decision of the members of Eastern Cape Legislature during a plenary sitting yesterday, passing a motion without notice, brought by the Democratic Alliance. A capable state is one which embraces innovation and forward-thinking.

See: motion

No-fee public online schools will provide an option to parents who cannot afford to enrol their children into private online schools whereby the cheapest available option starts at R23490. In this offering, children can attend live classrooms, exactly as they would at any school and additionally will have access to recorded lessons and online material for the purposes of revision.

No-fee public online schooling is one of the few options that the Eastern Cape Education Department can make use of to ensure that all children in the province receive the good quality education that is afforded them in the Constitution.

At the beginning of every academic year children remain on extremely long waiting lists, due to a shortage of space at Eastern Cape public schools. A no-fee online public schooling system circumvents this problem.

This is a great win for the children of the Eastern Cape, as a no-fee online public schooling solution will leapfrog these children into the modern era and, if done correctly, provide them with opportunities that could not even be imagined ten years ago.

  • Online schooling will ease the overcrowding and shortage of space at public schools, especially in metro and urban areas;
  • Online schooling will ease the burden caused by massive school infrastructure and maintenance backlogs;
  • During this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, online schooling is also a safer option, as it avoids children and teachers being forced into small classrooms where, in some cases, social distancing is near impossible. Some schools also do not have the necessary ablution facilities to ensure the sanitation protocols are followed.

The Department has been quoted as stating that it is pinning its hopes on the opening of online schools to reduce pressure on public schools. It is therefore imperative that the Department procures the necessary skills and technology to make this option a reality.

The Democratic Alliance will never stop fighting for our children as they have a constitutional right to education in a safe environment conducive to learning.