By Anthony Benadie MPL, Spokesperson on Education:
The DA welcomes reports that Education MEC, Reginah Mhaule, has kicked off a drive to ensure that a desk or a chair and table is available in every classroom for every learner.
MEC Mhaule’s actions come after sustained pressure and repeated calls by the DA for her to prioritise the provision of infrastructure to schools.
According to the Mpumalanga Department of Education Directorate of Physical Resource and Facilities Planning, 92% of all schools in the province need between 11%-100% of their structures replaced. It will cost the department R20 billion to fully eradicate the province’s school infrastructure backlog by 2023.
The department has availed R960 million in this financial year’s budget towards infrastructure and while this is a small step, we welcome the fact that the department has heeded our calls and schools will begin to access much needed furniture.
In a press statement issued by her department, MEC Mhaule said that it is unacceptable that a leaner may be seated on bricks or beer boxes when government has put aside resources to create conditions that are conducive for teaching and learning practices. As such, we hope that as MEC Mhaule embarks on this mission, Roodebank Combined School in Govan Mbeki municipality is not forgotten as learners there have been using bricks as chairs because they do not have adequate infrastructure.
The DA will continue to monitor the delivery of infrastructure to schools to ensure that at the end of this process, every classroom indeed has a desk and a chair for every learner. All pupils must be granted an equal opportunity to receive a good education in a safe and enabling environment.