Inhumane Conditions At Soweto Primary School

Goza Park Primary School

Learners and teachers at Goza Park Primary School in Freedom Park, Soweto are subjected to inhumane conditions daily.

The DA carried out an oversight visit to the school this morning and found that the Gauteng education department failed to provide the school with decent basic services.

The school has no electricity, no running water and poor sanitation conditions.

This comes despite the department’s quarterly reports claiming 100% supply of water and electricity to all schools in Gauteng.

Click here to view photographs.

School Infrastructure Budget

A total of 956 learners are forced to endure these conditions, which is nowhere near being a conducive learning and teaching environment.

Taps are dry and water pressure from two water tanks on the premises is insufficient to fill toilets, and teachers have to fill buckets and fill them manually.

Classrooms are prefabricated and poorly insulated.

A caring and responsive government would not allow this to happen. These poor conditions will impact on the quality of education and will adversely affect the academic future of learners.

Conditions at Goza Park Primary School begs the question on what exactly the department’s R2.6 billion school infrastructure budget was spent on.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi

The DA will submit questions to Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to ascertain what plans are in place to improve the learning conditions and delivery of basic services to schools in the province.

Instead of spending almost R100 million to build one school and procuring services without following proper procedures, MEC Lesufi must get his priorities right by focussing on the basics and prioritise no-fee paying schools.

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

Gauteng’s Asbestos Schools Pose Major Health Risk For Teachers And Learners

Teachers and learners exposed to asbestos dust in Gauteng schools face major health challenges.

Most asbestos school buildings are deteriorated, panels are cracked, broken and exposed in classrooms.

At Randfontein Secondary School, the department merely built a wall right around the asbestos building, leaving the asbestos exposed inside the building.

This was revealed to the NCOP delegation on oversight at schools in the province, during the NCOP provincial week.

If the lives of learners and teachers were of paramount importance to the department, they ought to be moving swiftly in eradicating the asbestos school backlog.

When maintenance work disturbs asbestos matter, or they start to deteriorate over time, asbestos dust can enter the air and be inhaled. Exposure to the dust puts any person at an increased risk for mesothelioma, lung cancer and serious lung conditions.

The DA will submit a written question to MEC Lesufi, to ascertain exactly how many asbestos schools, their location and name, what financial provision will be made available to eradicate the number of asbestos schools in Gauteng by the 2017/2018 financial year.

The DA vows to hold MEC Lusufi to his commitment to eradicate all asbestos building schools in Gauteng in the next two years.

 

Media enquiries:

Jacques Julius

DA Member in the NCOP – Gauteng

083 420 1309

[Image source]

DA Gauteng Debates Education Budget for 2016/17

Speech by: Khume Ramulifho MPL

“The delivery of quality basic education must be on top of the agenda.”

  • The ANC government is failing to create more opportunities for scholars so that they can improve their lives.
  • The delivery of high quality education and training will provide job seekers with marketable skills.
  • Education must break the barriers for many South Africans to enter the labour market either as employees or entrepreneurs.
  • The DA has called for teacher development and support aligned to teaching and learning.

The full speech can be obtained here

 

Speech by: Solly Msimanga MPL

“School sports and nutrition unleash youth potential”

  • The Hon. Panyaza Lesufi just presented a sanitized sales pitch that attempts to highlight small victories and make us forget what really matters, the youth. It is not what was said in today’s budget vote that concerns me, it is what was not said or conveniently ‘glossed over’ by the MEC that has me fearfully paralysed.
  • What is not mentioned today is that the department has in its pursuit of increasing the number of learners benefitting from the nutrition programme, neglected the very basics of providing a quality environment and experience for learners.
  • Security remains a key concern particularly for schools whose storage rooms keeping food are constantly broken into.
  • The DA refuses to ignore the shocking disparities in sports participation between female and male learners in schools.
  • Both the Hon. MEC Mazibuko and MEC Lesufi must tell us how they will encourage more access, participation and equality in sports for the sake of our girls and disabled learners in Gauteng’s schools.

The full speech can be obtained here.

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Education Shadow MEC

082 398 7375

 

Solly Msimanga, MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Education

060 558 8308

[Image source]

MEC Lesufi Must Prioritise Basic School Infrastructure

Willow Crescent Secondary School

The DA visited the Willow Crescent Secondary School in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, to assess infrastructure conditions as classrooms were burnt down 5 years ago.

Since the fire in the 2011, three classroom have not been repaired. Conditions at the school are appalling and not conducive to teaching or learning.

The school structures are in violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and has been served with an order to comply with Environmental Health Standards.

Deteriorating Infrastructure

The schools lights don’t function, classrooms have no doors, toilets are not meeting norms and standards and ceilings are falling apart.

Despite the crumbling infrastructure, Willow Crescent has managed a Matric pass rate of 73% in the 2015 academic year.

The DA has submitted questions to the MEC for oral reply in the Legislature to establish whether there are any plans to fix the deteriorating infrastructure.

The DA will propose alternative solutions to prioritise school infrastructure in this year’s budget debate vote.

Conducive learning and teaching environments are non-negotiable. Instead of spending R90 million in building one school, the MEC must focus on getting the basics right in all schools in the province.

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

[Image source]

Millions Lost Due To Poor Safety Measures At Gauteng Schools

Gauteng Provincial Governments e-Learning Initiative

Over R1million in damages to school facilities and equipment was recorded due to break-ins over the 2015/16 December school holidays at 23 schools in Gauteng.

17 smart boards, crucial to roll out of the Gauteng Provincial Governments e-Learning initiative, were reported stolen and so far, none have been recovered.

This was revealed in a written reply to a question posed by the DA on school safety measures to Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.

Paperless Classroom System

According to the MEC, SAPS are still investigating the reported cases and poor school safety measures are being reviewed by the Gauteng Education department.

To make matters worse, over 7000 tablets have not been returned by learners who completed matric last year. These tablets are valued at R3 500 each and play a vital role in the paperless classroom system.

MEC Lesufi has still not yet set targets and deadlines for the roll-out of safety measures in the 2016 academic year.

(Click here to view the reply).

It is of vital importance that whilst the MEC plans to roll out more ICT classrooms and high level equipment to schools, that proper security plans are in place to protect these assets.

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

[Image source]

Gauteng Education Sanitises Annual Report To Cover Up Drop-Out Rate

During a Portfolio Committee meeting in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the Gauteng Education Department admitted to withholding learner drop-out rates from its 2014/15 annual report in an attempt to avoid negative publicity.

The sanitised version left out the high amount of learners dropping out of Gauteng schools. The drop-out rate is an indicator to show efficiency in the education system. Last year’s figure stood at a whopping 70 000 as stated in the department’s 2013/14 annual report.

In May this year, the DA tabled a motion in the legislature to track all learners to avoid the worryingly high drop-out rate. But Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, denied the fact that school children were dropping-out of the education system in disturbingly high numbers and voted against the DA’s motion.

This sanitised version of the Annual Report is indicative of an ANC-run department trying to hide the facts around their significant failures. The DA is more concerned with drop-out rate at primary level as the learners are too young to be absorbed into the labour market.

The DA has submitted questions to get a breakdown of the 2014 drop-out rate and will be asking the department to urgently intervene. There is a need to ensure that the province increases its retention rate, such as in the DA-run Western Cape Province.

Retention of learners in secondary and primary school level is key to a quality pass rate and something which should be given serious consideration when assessing the province’s matric success this year.

 

Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho, MPL

DA Gauteng Education Shadow MEC

082 398 7375

[Image source]

DA Urges Gauteng Parents To Place Their Children In School

Parents to Find Placement

In a reply to DA questions regarding textbooks and LTSM readiness for 2016, the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, indicated that there are 25 000 learners waiting to be placed in schools across the province.

The DA urges the Department of Education in Gauteng to finalise learner placements ahead of the 2016 academic year. This will enable parents to buy uniforms, budget accordingly and ensure they have properly planned for the school year.

Parents who have not applied have an opportunity to do so before the end of November this year.

The DA appeals to all parents to use this window period to find placement for their children. This will ensure that teaching and learning will start on day one in 2016.

Quality Education

By finding place for their children, parents are contributing to strengthening monitoring and planning ahead of the academic year – as schools will be able to procure the necessary amounts of learning materials and resources.

The department must provide furniture, textbooks and employ more teachers before the commencement of the academic year. We must avoid situations where learners sit on buckets and paint cans due to lack of furniture.

Quality education will only be possible where a teaching and learning environment exists that is conducive to nurturing well-educated global citizens.

 

Media enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education

082 398 7375

[Image source]

Millions Spent On Private Security At GP Schools And More To Come

Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development

At least R 7.4  million has been spent on private security at schools in Gauteng from 2012/13 to the current financial year, and a further R4.3 million is projected for 2015/16.

This is according to a response received by the DA from Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.

This reply also indicates that 20 schools have been closed in the province and handed over to the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID), with a further 29 closed and awaiting transfer to the DID.

Brakpan Primary School

The Department claims that the only closed school which received private security was Brakpan Primary; however, private security has been allocated to other schools, such as Megatong, in the past.

I will follow up with the MEC to determine where the projected spend will be allocated as well as to confirm apparent contradictions in the allocation of private security to closed schools. I will also be contacting the DID to request confirmation of transfer of these properties.

More than R1,3 million was spent on private security at the closed Brakpan school alone; this while functioning schools receive little or no protection services.

Misallocated Funding

As with all challenges facing our education system, it is the learners that bear the brunt of poor administration and misallocated funding.

The DA will continue to work towards quality schooling for each and every young person in this province and country; where a child’s background should not determine the quality of education they receive.

Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Shadow MEC: Education
082 398 7375

[Image source]

GP Education Department Admits That Recalled Tablets Will Be Redistributed

Security Devices

The Gauteng Education Department has admitted in a written response to DA questions that tablets recalled to have security devices fitted will be redistributed to other schools and not returned to their original recipients.

Of the 88 000 tablets received by Gauteng schools, only 24 293 have been returned to date to have security devices fitted. More than 60 000 remain without security or tracking devices, leaving them at risk of being stolen.

The Department has misled schools by not clarifying its redistribution plans up front; this is likely to further discourage the return of tablets for security purposes.

Retrieval Plan

The Department’s retrieval plan was scheduled from February to the end of August 2015, but it is clear that if only a quarter of these devices have been returned to date that the recall of the rest will pose a challenge.

I will be following up with Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, to establish how this redistribution programme will work, as many schools have received too few tablets for every pupil to benefit.

The use of technology in our schools is a welcome move; however, the administration and management of this system must be done transparently and within the best interests of our learners.

Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC: Education
082 398 7375

[Image source]

Strong Partnerships Needed to Secure Gauteng Schools

Paperless Classrooms in Gauteng

Today, myself and DA Constituency Head Lebo More MPL, visited KwaDukathole Comprehensive School in Katlehong.

The school was targeted just last week by criminals intent on stealing newly installed equipment which formed part of the roll-out of paperless classrooms in Gauteng. This is not the only school which has been targeted since the launch of this initiative.

In this particular instance, the criminals made off with two computers and attempted to steal several tablets. However, a school in Soweto was robbed of at least R410 000 worth of new equipment and the guards on duty severely assaulted over the weekend.

Sustainable Technology Programmes

This spike in school robberies aimed at theft of innovative learning and teaching equipment is concerning and disadvantages already under-privileged learners even further.

The DA supports the introduction of technology in our schools; however, the programme must be sustainable.

Security is obviously becoming a major challenge and as with other similar projects in Gauteng, such as the R3 billion Gauteng On Line project, crime can completely undermine the success of these ventures.

Proactive Intervention Needed

The DA has raised this concern with Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi and has urged the Department to forge strong relationships with law enforcement agencies.

It is only through gathering intelligence, breaking syndicates and more visible policing that we will be able to fight crime and protect the future of our learners.

More proactive intervention is needed to ensure that our schools are places of safety. Only strong partnerships between school leadership, education officials, law enforcement and the community will achieve this.

 

Media Enquiries:

Khume Ramulifho MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education
082 398 737

[Image source]