DA calls for a debate on basic education

2010-10-28 14:38

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for a parliamentary debate on the problems facing basic education.

DA spokesperson Wilmot James told a media briefing today that he had recently concluded a series of visits to some of the poorest schools in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

“The substandard level of infrastructure and support provided at these schools demonstrates how far we have to go to provide an optimal standard of basic education to all of our students,” he said.

Basic amenities, such as electricity, water and sanitation, were slow to non-existent in the areas visited. Without them, children were in essence unable to enjoy their constitutional rights.

James thus proposed a debate be held in Parliament on problems facing basic education in South Africa. He further proposed this debate include what the government should be obliged to provide for pupils, and what penalties officials should face if they failed to roll out school infrastructure on time.

He had also requested from the Eastern Cape and Limpopo MECs details of the steps being undertaken to address the desperate infrastructure shortfalls at the schools visited, and others in a similar state.

According to the latest National Education Infrastructure Management System report from 2007, of the 24 000 public schools in the country:
» 25% did not have water facilities.
» 15% did not have sanitation facilities.
» 24% were overcrowded.
» 75% did not have libraries.
» There was a shortage of 31 254 classrooms.
» 50% of Eastern Cape schools used ordinary pit latrines, and only 20% of schools in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo had flush toilets.
» 90% of secondary schools lacked functioning laboratories.
» 68% of schools had no computers.
» Only 2% of schools were equipped for disabled pupils.

These failings had recently been highlighted by the court case brought by seven “mud schools” in the Eastern Cape.

Comprehensive norms and standards for schools were prescribed by former education minister Naledi Pandor in 2008/09.

Implementation of the norms and standards, from educational spaces to service provision, had been reasonable in some provinces, but inadequate in others, such as the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the North West.

“The fact is South Africa’s children deserve better,” he said.

There were three fundamental aspects to having a quality education system. First, teachers should be qualified. Secondly, teachers should work in a functional environment with clear rules for recognising performance and ensuring accountability. Thirdly, there should be a modern curriculum delivered in a built infrastructure serviced appropriately according to existing norms and standards.

“Either the courts will compel governments to act and do so in a timely and responsible manner, or we can. It is for that reason that I proposed a debate in the House on this matter – so that we can start defining what government should be accountable for when it comes to providing a basic education,” James said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.