By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:
The Democratic Alliance urges the Northern Cape Department of Education to ensure that everything is in place for the opening of schools tomorrow. While it is encouraging that all schools have reportedly received their educator staff establishments for 2016, it is a matter of concern that 22% of books still need to be delivered.
It is also worrying that difficulties are still experienced in finding service providers for learner transport in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district, as it rather creates the impression that this crucial function has been left until the last minute. In 2014/15, 19% of the learner transport target was not met. We cannot have another year where one in five qualifying learners are forced to walk long distances to school and back. We need to see that the department of Education works together more closely with the department of Transport, Safety and Liaison to ensure that all learners enjoy safe, reliable transport.
We wish learners, educators and schools all the best for the 2016 academic year. A special word of encouragement goes to learners who are embarking on grade R or grade 1. School is nothing to be nervous about, but should be enjoyed. We also wish grade 12 learners good luck with their studies and their exams at the end of the year.
We trust that all schools will enjoy a year of uninterrupted schooling. We call on communities who are dissatisfied with service delivery not to close down schools, but to voice their concerns through their ballot papers. We cannot deprive learners of their access to education, as education of a high quality is the key to unlocking a child’s future.