The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is demanding that the Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, must ensure that all learners who applied on time are allocated schools before the end of November 2022. This will ensure that no learner misses a day of schooling because of the department’s incompetency and failure to place learners on time and within the stipulated deadlines.
Yesterday, MEC Matome Chiloane gave an update on the admission process and announced that the late applications for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2023 academic year will open on 20 December 2022 and closes on 20 January 2023.
We welcome the opening of late applications which will allow parents and guardians who missed the deadline to submit their children’s applications. However, we don’t believe that the late applications will be processed on time as this department has a reputation for failing learners and, many have been denied months of schooling due to late placements.
The DA proposes that only schools that have not yet reached their full capacity must be listed on the selection list to avoid raising hopes and creating pressure on schools that have reached their maximum capacity.
The MEC should be focusing on resolving placement issues for the learners who applied on time. Thousands of parents and guardians who applied on time are still waiting for SMSs to confirm the placement of their children.
Come the 2023 academic year, there should be no learner that is denied access to basic education because the department failed to allocate schools for them. The long wait and uncertainty frustrate parents who still need to buy stationery and uniforms and make transport arrangements for their children.
The DA will continue to monitor the process of learner placement to ensure that all parents and guardians who applied on time for their children receive confirmation placements before the end of this month. We will further monitor if the MEC keeps his promise to deliver mobile classrooms to high enrolment demand schools to avoid classroom overcrowding.
The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to resolve the dispute with the contractor as a matter of urgency to ensure that Kwadedangendlale High School learners in Zola, Soweto have alternative classrooms while the refurbishment of their classrooms is underway.
It has been reported that the contractor who provided the school with container classrooms has terminated the contract with the department over payment issues. The contractor wanted to remove the mobile classrooms from site and leave learners to be educated in the open, exposed to the elements.
This clearly indicates that Gauteng schools are facing a severe infrastructure crisis and the learners are the ones that are suffering.
The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s (GPL) Education Portfolio Committee has visited the school several times and has alerted the department about the terrible condition of the school’s infrastructure.
The refurbishment of the school is currently underway, and learners have been relocated to container classrooms.
The department is failing to prioritise the fixing of the old and dilapidated school infrastructure across the province, yet they underspent by almost R1 billion in the 2018/19 financial year.
Its high time that MEC Lesufi go back to basics and prioritise school infrastructure upgrades over Information Communication Technology assets (ICT).
We will continue to put pressure on MEC Lesufi to ensure that all our school infrastructure is in a good state and the environment is conducive for learning and teaching.
by Khume Ramulifho MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
In reply to questions I posed to Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi regarding the status of the investigation into the alleged sexual assault of learners at Parktown Boys’ High School, the MEC provided little information regarding the progress of the investigation.
MEC Lesufi indicated that the investigation was two-fold, and that the first phase had been completed by May and the second phase would be concluded at the end of May.
Despite this assurance, the report has not been made available and the details contained within are unknown.
By now this investigation should be concluded and parents of learners should be brought up to speed as to the outcome.
It is critical that if there is a criminal case to be made, the department should pursue it, as it is famous for letting offenders of the hook with no consequences.
For there to be closure on this matter and allow healing to take place, it is of the upmost importance that this report is shared and discussed by members of the Legislature’s Education Committee.
It is critical that this information be shared with the School Governing Body to ensure that findings and recommendations are considered.
The DA will push MEC Lesufi to make the report available to ensure that the justice is served for the victims of this horrendous incident.
The DA calls upon the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to fix all the schools that were damaged by the December storms.
The schools’ conditions aren’t conducive for learning and teaching. The district visited the schools but nothing was done. Failure to replace damaged classrooms has angered many parents who are deeply concerned with the safety of both their children and teachers.
Parents of learners at Mayibuye Primary School in Snake Park, Soweto had, as of Wednesday, shut down the school demanding that MEC Lesufi immediately fix six storm damaged classrooms.
These classrooms had most of their roofs blown away while parts remain hanging over the walls.
The ceiling has collapsed with water leaks on exposed power cables posing a serious electrical hazard.
Click here, here, here and here for photos of the classrooms.
These learners are now taught outside in the heat.
Parents have vowed that schooling will not resume until the damage has been repaired.
While we welcome the monthly opening of new state-of-the-art schools across the province, MEC Lesufi must get the basics right and ensure that all the existing schools which have infrastructure backlogs are addressed.
The DA has written to MEC Lesufi informing him about the dire state of this school and the conditions that the learners and teachers are exposed to.
We will continue to put pressure on MEC Lesufi to ensure that all the schools across the province that were damaged by the storm are fixed as a matter of urgency.
Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi’s, colourful and fictitious representation of the state and quality of Education in the Province downplays the ever growing cracks in the education system.
In a reply to written question it was revealed that in the first quarter of 2017 (January – May) 31 731 teachers in Gauteng were recorded as absent, and of that number, 110 were recorded as absent without leave. There are approximately 83 000 teachers in the province. No matter how one looks at this, it is a crisis of gargantuan proportions.
The Democratic Alliance has long proposed the introduction of National Education Inspectorate, to ensure that teachers and principals are supported and held accountable for the performance of their learners. This was rejected by ANC ally, SADTU, which has no interest in improving the quality of education, and Lesufi lacks the courage and political will to rein in this destructive union.
It has become abundantly clear that Lesufi runs a high-level public relations campaign through the launch of various “good story to tell” initiatives, which do not address the real problems in the education system, in this case teacher absenteeism.
The failure of teachers to show up to execute their duties and responsibilities undermines the project of safeguarding a prosperous future and a skilled workforce.
During Mandela Month we must reflect deeply on the words of the Father of the Nation who had a profound love of the youth and always emphasised the role of education in empowering a nation. Former President Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Lesufi and the ANC are therefore stifling efforts to arrest poverty, inequality and unemployment
We will continue to put pressure on the ANC government until it prioritises the education of the youth, particularly those from poorer areas.
Despite the National Development Plan (NDP), which the ANC speaks about without implementing, committing the country to increasing the number of learners who qualify to study towards Maths and Science orientated degrees, Gauteng MEC for Education, MEC Panyza Lesufi, cannot account for the number of teachers who teach these subjects in Grades 11 and 12.
In a reply to a written question posed to the MEC, he stated that “The Department is not in a position to indicate the number of teachers who are qualified to teach these subjects and currently teaching them in Grade 11 and 12 respectively.”
This is completely unacceptable, given the already dire state of the education system, which is held to ransom by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU), which protects its members, who are sometimes unqualified or underqualified to teach their assigned subjects.
It is for the purpose of improving the quality of education and ensuring that teachers are qualified that the Democratic Alliance has proposed the introduction of a National Education Inspectorate and the reintroduction of Teacher Training Colleges. These two proposals have been rejected by both the ANC and SADTU who have no interest in bettering the quality of education and the advancement of the youth, especially the poor.
It is a well-established fact that education remains one of the most effective weapons in the fight against high levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty, but the ANC government continues to dilute pass marks and hold onto underperforming teachers.
MEC Lesufi must conduct a skills audit to ensure that teachers are teaching subjects they are qualified to teach and drive a campaign to attract more qualified Science and Maths teachers.
The DA believes that all learners deserve quality education and must be taught by skilled and qualified teachers. This will contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty.
The DA will continue to advance policies that work to improve the quality of the country’s education system and stand up against those who sabotage this project, because to neglect education is to neglect the project of building a better country and an inclusive economy.
Learners at Sapebuso Primary School in Soweto will not receive their first term progress reports today due to the fact that they were not assessed by teachers who have blamed overcrowding as a hindrance in their ability to perform their duties.
The DA has been informed that in some classes, such as grade 5, the teacher to learner ratio is as high as 1:65. It is impossible for quality teaching and learning to take place in classrooms where the number of learners who require the attention of a teacher has to be split among 65.
Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi has failed to prioritise the basics. The Department has not rolled out additional classrooms and schools fast enough to meet the growing demand for education in Gauteng. Rapid migration into the province requires smarter solutions than the ones that have been offered by the MEC.
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura has highlighted the need for increased infrastructure expansion to solve many of the challenges faced by the province. The fast-tracking of school infrastructure will not only alleviate the growing numbers of learners in classrooms, but it will also improve the quality of education received by learners.
The DA will write to MEC Lesufi insisting that he intervene to ensure that the rights of learners at Sapebuso Primary are not infringed and that they are assessed as soon as possible.
Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375
DA Economic Cluster Manager
073 601 6144
[Image Source: http://bit.ly/2o5nJCP]
Suspend the Boys Pending an Investigation
Reports this morning suggest that two of three victims of alleged rape at the Kutumela Molefi Primary School in Tshwane are forced to attend school along with the boys accused of this crime.
This is completely unacceptable and the DA calls on the school and relevant department officials to suspend the boys immediately pending an investigation.
Further, the Department needs to do more to ensure that the girls are given every support they need in this difficult time.
Victims Must Be Enrolled in Support Programmes
This includes alternative transport should they wish to attend a different school, as well as counselling and victim support from the Department of Social Development.
They should not have to return to the scene of their alleged rape and especially not have to face those that are accused of assaulting them.
I will urgently contact Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, to ensure that both his department and other relevant officials provide the safety nets that these girls so desperately need.
We will also approach Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Faith Mazibuko to have all three victims enrolled immediately in victim support programmes.
Ensuring Uncompromised Futures
It is a measure of our society how we respond to our most vulnerable groups in times of such brutality.
These girls, their families and the greater community of Lethabong need to know that everything will be done to help them through this trauma and to ensure that their futures are not compromised.
Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC: Education
082 398 7375
Infrastructure and Furniture Shortages
Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng inspected two schools in Kagiso that are faced with infrastructure and furniture shortages.
At Tsakane Primary School, some learners use buckets as chairs, while others are forced to sit on the floor while in class. Broken chairs and desks are used by other learners and most classrooms are overcrowded and uncomfortable.
Even more disturbingly, learners at the Itireleng School for the Mentally Handicapped do not have appropriate classroom equipment or even a dedicated occupational therapist to assist with their welfare and development.
In fact, Itireleng School was earmarked to be upgraded in November last year but no action has been taken in this regard to date.
Click here to view pictures.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi
These environments are not conducive to quality learning and teaching and this is not the education that our children deserve. In particular, learners with special needs are facing additional challenges which do not help them overcome their disabilities.
I will be requesting Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, to immediately address the equipment shortages in both these schools and ensure that learners are provided with everything they need for a productive and comfortable school day.
We are now almost half way through the school year and we cannot allow the quality of education delivered at these schools to be compromised even further.
Each and every one of these learners should be able to use their schooling as an opportunity to establish a bright and prosperous future. The MEC must not deny them this chance any longer.
Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC: Education
082 398 7375
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) protest march in Tshwane is disrupting learning in schools across Gauteng, further harming the prospects of a better future for learners at under performing schools.
This morning I visited a number of schools, and found that mostly teachers from under-performing schools did not show up for work today, while at well performing schools, teaching and learning continue uninterrupted.
Well Performing VS Under-Performing Schools
With school registrations for the 2016 academic year opening this week, one can see why parents would rather sit in long queues to register their children at well performing schools, than to put their education at risk.
SADTU’s mass action has seen many learners stay at home this morning, causing them to lose yet another day of schooling.
Education is Essential
Education is essential, and embarking on mass action during school hours and unnecessarily disrupting learning and teaching is unacceptable, causing irreparable harm to the future prospects of our youth.
The DA appeals to Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to urgently address SADTU’s concerns and come to some form of agreement, before further mass action disrupt our schools.
Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 7375