Software rollout delay cripples new academic year before it begins

Software rollout delay cripples new academic year before it begins

With less than three days to go before the opening of schools for the 2021 academic year, school staff and teachers have been unable to update any information for the year, because the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape has still not released the latest patch for the South African School Administration Management System (SA-SAMS).

Not only does this platform allow schools to update information of learners, it is also utilised to assign learners to subject areas, advertise vacancies, place important notices etc.

Teachers and staff have been back at schools since the beginning of February, with school management teams arriving a week earlier, to prepare for the return of learners. However, these efforts have been hamstrung by the Department, because the latest updates have not been released.

Despite me bringing this to the attention of the acting Superintendent General (SG), Ray Tywakadi, a week ago, in a letter on 2 February 2021, I have only received an acknowledgement of receipt and a promise of a response.

Meanwhile nothing has been done, leaving school management and teachers frustrated in their preparations, despite being required to return to school up to three weeks before the arrival of learners.

A capable state would have ensured that the system was updated with the required patch well before the return of school management teams, so as to empower them to prepare for the opening of schools.

In the Eastern Cape, however, the last update from the site administrator was on 22 November 2020 with no further updates thereafter.

The delay in resolving the SA-SAMS problem is placing even more pressure on teachers and staff and is sabotaging the academic year before it has even begun.

I have now submitted a question to the Education MEC, Fundile Gade, to elicit a response. I will also be following up with acting SG Tywakadi.

The DA condemns the lack of preparedness from the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

A caring government will prioritise the education of our children, and not allow our education system to deteriorate even further, as seen under the ANC government.