Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, would do well to shift his focus from appealing court judgements to providing quality education for all Gauteng’s schools.
It appears that the already cash-strapped department is wasting funds on court matters when in fact many schools, and particularly townships schools, are suffering without the necessary resources to function.
Cosmo City Primary School is overcrowded with a shocking number of 92 learners per class. Randfontein Secondary School and Noordgesig Primary School are battling with exposure to asbestos, thousands of learners remain unplaced and sexual abuse cases are mushrooming across the province.
Furthermore, parents of learners at Mayibuye Primary School in Snake Park, Soweto had, as of Wednesday last week, shut down the school demanding that MEC Lesufi immediately fix six classrooms that had been damaged during storms in December. Infrastructure conditions at Kwadedangendlela Secondary School in Zola, Soweto are near a state of collapse, placing both learners and teachers at risk.
The DA has visited a considerable number of schools to assess their readiness for the new school year and we found that conditions aren’t conducive for learning and teaching at many schools in the province.
MEC Lesufi should avoid becoming sidetracked and bear in mind that transforming and integrating schools in the province requires a solid plan and time to ensure schools are supported with the resources required to do so.
While the DA supports the transformation of schools in the province, it must however be taken into consideration that it an administrative process which the department could better manage by rolling out a transformation plan in phases.
It was ill-considered of MEC Lesufi to force learners to go to school without offering the necessary resources. Language must never be used as a discriminatory and social-exclusionary tool.
We strongly advise spending money on fixing schools with deteriorating infrastructure conditions instead of fighting lost cases. Schools have potholes and learners have no chairs and desks. It is high time that MEC Lesufi must get his priorities right, by fixing the basics first.
Quality schooling must be prioritized to ensure that the playing field is levelled which in turn will ensure transformation takes place and that all schools in Gauteng are functioning optimally.