By Jacques Smalle DA Limpopo Leader, DA Spokesperson for education:
Recent studies show that a minimum of 182 countries allocate the biggest chunk of their national budget to Education. South Africa in particular is the 60th country on the list.
Most of these countries are democratic and politically stable with thriving economies.
The DA believes that having smoothly running schools in a democratic society does not happen by chance.
It is in fact, the direct result of an explicit attempt by educators, school management and departments of education which bring about the arrangements and opportunities to bring democracy to life.
The DA wishes to remind this august house that quality education does not just occur.
Quality education is the result of dedicated and committed stakeholders who want to protect our children’s right to a basic education.
I dare ask how can this province produce dedicated and well –trained teachers when the department cannot provide CAPS training to 29 400 teachers, yet money was allocated.
How can the Premier and the department expect an 80% matric pass rate despite a serious shortage of Maths and Science teachers and textbooks?
How can we say education is a societal matter yet ignore the blatant failure by the department to support public special schools and early childhood development centres?
It therefore, can no longer be business as usual for this department.
Especially, when there is significant under spending of R 1 billion rand.
This money which has been lost to Treasury could have assisted in the current deficit in norms and standards.
It could have assisted in buying a minimum of 66 666 standard photocopy machines and avoided the embarrassment of postponing exams and misleading the public.
It can no longer be business as usual.
The DA says enough is enough.
We call the MEC to stand up for what is right even if it comes at the expense of popularity.
We urge you to heed to the AG’s call for strong political leadership which will ensure that there are consequences.
There has been no officials brought to book for the R 99.7 million overspent by the department.
At the crux of many of the department of education’s challenges lies a slow response by leadership to deal with non-compliance and outright transgressions.
It cannot be business as usual when learners miss out on school because a scholar transport service provider feels certain routes are not profitable.
It will never be business as usual until the department stops rewarding officials with fat pay checks that bleed the department dry while the foot soldiers, the schools, educators and learners suffer from debt and inhumane learning environments.