MEC Lesufi needs to ensure that all learners receive their reports

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has learnt that a secondary school in Hammanskraal is refusing to give learners their report cards.

It is alleged that the Adam Masebe Secondary School is withholding the reports until a R100 donation is paid to the school.

This is unacceptable as this is a no fee-paying school and learners should not be punished for not being able to pay a donation.

This means if parents cannot afford to pay the donation the learner bears the consequences. The withholding of a report is not allowed as per the school’s policies. In such instances, the school must engage directly with the parents or guardians as it is their responsibility to ensure that all their childrens’ needs are catered for.

The DA calls on the Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi to urgently intervene and ensure that all learners from this school receive their report cards. If these allegations prove to be true, the principal of this school must be held accountable.

DA calls on MEC Lesufi to investigate allegations of mistreatment of learners with special needs

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on the GautengcMEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi to investigate the allegations of the mistreatment of learners with special needs in Gauteng schools.

This shocking incident was revealed to the public by ENCA’s Checkpoint.

The programme also shows learners with special needs expressing how they are mistreated at school. These learners are teased and belittled because they are struggling at school.

They are also discriminated against by their teachers who call them insulting names and they are then told to sit at the back of the classroom because they are not smart.

These learners are vulnerable and unable to read yet nothing has been done to assist them.

It is the responsibility of the Gauteng Department of Education to ensure that all learners are taught in a dignified manner irrespective of their learning needs.

The DA calls on MEC Lesufi to intervene as a matter of urgency to ensure that these learners with special needs are given a fair chance to learn and develop.

The department also has a responsibility to assess the needs of learners where it is evident that they are not coping with their schoolwork in order to ascertain what proper interventions need to occur.

DA calls on GDE to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure learners’ safety

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Gauteng Department of Education to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure learners’ safety in all our schools across the province.

This follows a horrific incident were a 14-year-old grade 9 learner from Thuto-Tiro Comprehensive School in Sebokeng was stabbed to death with a pair of scissors by his schoolmate.

This is just one of many incidents that indicate that the safety of our learners and teachers is under threat in Gauteng schools.

A learner from Forest High School in Turffontein was also stabbed to death in June this year.

Schools are supposed to be safe places for children to learn and it is the responsibility of the Department of Education to ensure that learners are taught in a safe and conducive environment.

The DA proposes that law enforcement agencies in partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Community Safety conduct regular unannounced school searches to ensure that learners do not bring dangerous weapons to school.

We call on the MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, Metropolitan Police Departments and the Gauteng Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela to engage and form a partnership that will help to curb violence, murder and other related crimes in our schools.

Its high time that MEC Lesufi prioritises learner’s safety ahead of technological improvements in schools.

Principal chases learners away from school for not bringing paper

The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns in the strongest terms the actions by the Principal of Madisong Secondary School in Hammanskraal for allegedly chasing away learners for failing to bring a donation of a ream of paper to the school.

The DA will write to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) requesting that they institute an investigation into this matter, specifically on why learners were deliberately denied their right to education by the Principal.

I will also be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain reasons why learners were told to bring a ream of paper and why those who failed to bring paper were chased away from school. In addition, the Provincial Education Department must give clarity on the money allocated for Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) at the school this year.

It is totally unacceptable for learners to be denied access to learning because their parents cannot afford to buy a ream of paper.

While some learners managed to bring a ream of paper each, others were unable to do so because their parents did not have money to buy the paper.

Madisong Secondary School is a no fee-paying school which means that the government is financing almost all the necessities needed at the school.

The no-fee school policy was implemented to bridge inequalities in the South African education system to ensure that those who have and those who do not have are both afforded quality education.

Access to basic education is the fundamental right as enshrined by the Constitution. Any deliberate attempts to infringe on this right, should be resisted and those implicated, held accountable.

Education budget not aligned to the new priorities

Madam speaker; the DA has read the budget book and critically analyzed the allocations. Supporting this budget is the same as supporting skewed priorities. I’ll tell you why.

Looking at the schools of specialization, there are much needed facilities that will create great opportunities not only for our province but the whole country.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) strongly supports the establishment and the existence of the schools of specialization but the challenge is that they are not accessible to all our people.

Priority number 4 of the department’s list of priorities is to “expand and enhance schools of specialization”, but surprisingly, or maybe not, in this budget allocation, the department allocated a zero amount for this priority. There’s no budget allocated to this priority over the next two financial years. How then will this programme be expanded, as outlined by the Premier during his State of the Province Address?

This budget is not expanding choices, as it will be difficult for a child from Hamanskraal to be transported daily to attend a school of aviation based in Ekurhuleni.

It seems like we are perpetuating skewed spatial planning. If this department was serious about expanding schools of specialization the budget would have included the establishment of these schools across the province particularly closers to industrial plants and aviation schools closer to small airports such as Lanseria and Wonderboom airports.

While these schools will be located closer to industries of specialization, it means that there must be budget allocated for boarding facilities or transport to ensure that all our learners have access to these schools.

Madam Speaker, for example a child from Hammanskraal who is an orphan in foster care, who wants to attend the BMW school of specialization in Soshanguve, but does not have money to travel or rent a facility, how do they benefit when their circumstances are outside their control? 

Quality basic education must be accessible to all but this budget does not consider that. 

Madam speaker;

It is ironic that the department’s priority number 14 which is “reposition principals and educator development and support” yet there is no money allocated to the School Management Teams over the next two financial years. The School Management Team needs to be trained on how to use technology in schools and classrooms to improve learning and teaching.

Speaking of the use of technology, Madam Speaker , I visited Selang Primary School in Leboneng, Hammanskraal on Wednesday, 24 July 2019. It broke my heart to see that a computer lab is closed because there is no support from the department. The specialized classrooms must be a priority but this budget isn’t talking to this need.

How do you then say on paper that one of your priorities is educator development and support, yet there is no money allocated to drive this very priority?

In addition , Selang Primary School does not have a proper kitchen and the department is failing to provide proper support to the school’s nutrition programme.

While noting the nutrition programme budget, there is no emphasis on providing a balanced diet and healthy meals to learners. Did you notice the food given to learners, when we were at Simunye Secondary school in Bekkersdal last week Tuesday? – it was clear that we need proper training for food handlers to prepare balanced meals.

There is a huge need to ensure that kitchen facilities are in good condition. They must be inspected regularly and health inspectors must visit schools to ensure quality food is prepared for learners.

Madam speaker, the MEC has been given a new mandate to take care of youth development. We are told that the department is now called the Department of Education and Youth Development yet this budget fails to address issues that directly affect our youth who are out of school. Again it’s not clear whether the role is to coordinate without a budget or there will be a budget during the adjustment process.

Strategic goal 5 “To address the needs of Gauteng Youth through development programs and increasing youth employability”, and the priorities under this strategic goal are, ‘18: to develop a master skills programme aligned to skills required by the fourth industrial revolution, 19: continue with the programmes targeting poor and critical skills, 20: promote young writers and publications for use in schools. 

Youth goes beyond learners and there are many of them who are looking for opportunities but they are not winning. There is no specific budget set aside to deal with youth development. As I said, it may require an adjustment and realignment of the budget.

How do you then say you have strategic goals that speak to youth development with clearly articulated priorities yet there is no money allocated to address these issues?

Madam speaker, the DA does not support this budget primarily because it is not aligned to the priorities after the May General Elections. 

The Democratic Alliance believes that retraining and empowering our teachers with skills should remain a major priority. The 4th Industrial Revolution requires teachers who are well prepared to ensure that they are part of the change. 

The department must make computer literacy compulsory to afford learners opportunities to adjust to these new changes. They must be given opportunities to adapt to ensure that they can lead innovation in the sector.

The DA believes in building one SA for all, where all can have access to quality education regardless of their geographic circumstances. We advocate for total learner, educator and SGB empowerment and support through clearly articulated policy documents on Education. 

DA to request MEC Lesufi to provide alternative temporary classrooms at Carleton Jones High School

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply frustrated that the Gauteng Education MEC , Panyaza Lesufi has not yet provided alternative temporary classrooms at Carleton Jones High.

The department is aware of the severe challenge posed by the lack of classrooms at this school yet nothing has been done to ensure effective learning and teaching.

The school was hit by tremor in 2008 and the building cracked.

On the 5th of April this year learners and teachers felt some unusual movement in the classrooms. The department was informed, and the West Rand District Local municipality sent engineers to the school to assess the integrity of the classrooms which they declared unsafe for teaching and learning.

The DA observed that the school has a shortage of 30 classrooms.

The school opted to combine grade 8 and 9 learners in one class, while grade 10 and 11 learners were also combined in one class.

These two overcrowded classes with over 140 learners are alternating which means only one class per day while other learners remain at home.

The learners are not taught every day which has a significant impact on them completing the curriculum.

The parents are now removing their children from this school; the number of learners have decreased from 1062 at the beginning of this term to 1048 learners.

The department is depriving these learners of access to basic education which is completely unacceptable.

I will write to MEC Lesufi requesting that his department provide alternative classrooms as a matter of urgency.

Herman Mashaba To Visit Randburg Labour Centre

Today, Monday 25 January 2016, DA Johannesburg mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba and DA Shadow Minister for Labour, Ian Ollis MP will visit the Randburg labour centre to assess the quality of service delivery and to engage with job seekers.

Date: Monday 25 January 2016

Time: 10h00

Place: Randburg labour centre, Hillview centre, c/r Oak and Hill streets, Randburg

There will be opportunity for interviews and photographs. Members of the media are welcome to attend.

 

Media enquiries:

Nkele Molapo

DA Johannesburg media officer

082 953 8330