James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
Mpumalanga education MEC Reginah Mhaule must restore schools’ dignity and instil a sense of pride in learners by declaring the 2013/14 financial year as the year of classroom and school furniture delivery, and remove these two aspects as obstacles to quality education in our province.
In a DA survey conducted in 113 schools across the province, the DA found, among a number of issues, dramatic shortages of classroom furniture. Learners were crammed into overcrowded classrooms, forced to share desks as well as chairs, with some schools reporting shortages of over 1 000 classroom chairs.
It is an absolute shame that Mpumalanga’s learners have to be saddled with a department which creates more barriers to decent and quality education than having them removed. Every year the DA hauls MEC Mhaule over the coals regarding the quality of education and the poor state of our schools, only to be given empty promises that turnaround strategies are in place, and that more funds would reach their intended destination.
With the 2013/14 budget announcement a month away, one can only hope that the additional R7 million promised last year by MEC Mhaule, will materialise and that the desperate situation in our schools will be addressed. A certain solution would be to decentralise control from province, and return procurement responsibilities of schools to principals.
The DA will submit formal written questions to MEC Mhaule asking her to explain the reasons for the shortages, what plans are in place to resolve the matter, and how soon inventories will be back up to 100%.
It is shocking to witness the levels of dilapidation and neglect in so many of our schools, and the DA believes that learners’ academic performance will improve as their learning environment improves. It is our firm belief that an environment that is conducive to academic excellence, will positively contribute to the learning experience.