Education activist slams Department of Education on infrastructure

By Drum Digital
29 November 2016

The Department of Education will be releasing the much-awaited Schools Infrastructure Delivery Report today. However, education activists say it is too little too late.

Leanne Jansen-Thomas, Head of Policy and Training at Equal Education (EE) says they will be taking the Department to court for having failed its deadline to improve infrastructure in all schools in South Africa by today, as well as having delayed their release of the report by a year.

“There are still schools made from inappropriate materials with poor infrastructure,” she says. “In the Eastern Cape there are still schools made of mud, sink and wood. While in Gauteng and the Western Cape there are schools made from asbestos, which is a health hazard. There are schools that also don’t have water and basic sanitation.”

Failure to meet today’s deadline is deemed to be a gross violation of children’s rights and the EE would like the Department’s report to address why they missed the deadline.

“We know that provinces have planned poorly and money has not been used properly.” says Jansen- Thomas. “In the Eastern Cape, R500 million was returned to the National Treasury because it was not spent by the provincial department.”

DRUM could not get a hold of the Department of Education. However, in a statement they said the education sector has achieved relatively good progress in providing basic services, both in terms of actual access to services and also in terms of operational capacity of the sector to provide these services.

While the Department does not give reasons as to why they failed to meet the deadline, they admit that the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative was devised to address schools infrastructure backlog on all schools that do not meet the basic safety norms and standards.

The report is expected to be released during the course of today.

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