Learners abandoned as EC Education Department collapses

Issued by Nqaba Bhanga, MPL
DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader

It has become abundantly clear that the Eastern Cape Education Department is collapsing and is simply unable to meet the needs of the learners they should be educating.

I have written to Premier Oscar Mabuyane, and the DA will be raising our concerns in the Education portfolio committee meeting, to call for immediate steps to be taken to address these shortfalls.

During recent school oversight visits across the province, the DA found that schools are severely under-resourced, with many still waiting for their textbooks and learner support materials to be delivered!

This, despite a court order compelling the provincial Department of Education to make sure that the books are delivered by the end of March.

How is it possible that our learners have been without textbooks for more than half of the academic year?

Add this to the two years of disruptions already experienced due to Covid-19, and the impact on our schooling is devastating!

Oversights also revealed that thousands of our school children have not attended a single day of class this year, because the scholar transport system is a catastrophic failure.

We also found that many schools still have asbestos roofing, and in many cases, schools are harvesting rainwater from these roofs, which poses a significant health risk to our learners.

Infrastructure projects have stalled, while schools are falling into disrepair. Many schools are still unable to provide our learners with basic sanitation facilities, and temporary measures put in place during the height of the Covid-pandemic have since fallen away.

It is clear that the Department is failing its mandate of providing learners with opportunities to become productive and responsible citizens through quality basic education.

We need urgent intervention to ensure that our children’s education is put back in safe hands.