Strong partnerships needed to secure Gauteng schools

By Khume Ramulifho MPL DA Shadow MEC: Education:

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.

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.

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.