Govt has shut over 4 000 schools

2012-01-19 20:55

Johannesburg - The government has shut down more than 4 500 public schools in the past five years, The Sowetan Live reported on Thursday.

According to a report compiled by the department of basic education and released in 2007, there were 30 117 operational schools.

In a report compiled in 2009, the number of schools had declined to 25 827. Only Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had shown an increase.

The most affected areas were townships and rural areas.

The main reason cited for the closures was the decline in pupil numbers as a result of poor performance of township and rural schools.

This has sparked a migration to better-performing schools in towns and cities.

Provincial prerogative

Provinces which were expected to close schools this year included the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

The Eastern Cape education department had identified more than 500 schools with less than 100 pupils each, while the Northern Cape would shut down 25 primary and secondary schools by March.

Mpumalanga would shut down 14 and the Western Cape nine.

Basic education department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said the shutting down of schools was a provincial "prerogative".

He denied that the trend of closing schools was a "national crisis".

"Parents are voting to pull their children out of under-performing township schools to better schools in the cities," Lesufi said.


According to the report, the Gauteng education department had reported a backlog of 120 schools, but had to close 46 schools, according to provincial spokesperson Charles Phahlane.

Eastern Cape education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani said managing over 500 "sub-optimal" schools would in the long run be "untenable".

He said the leading cause of pupil migration was the "incessant under-performance by rural schools".

Limpopo, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal could not provide details of the state of schools because their "technical staff were still on holidays".

In the Northern Cape, the Gaetsewe district was expected to shut down 25 schools by the end of March and North West said there were 24 unused schools in the province.

In Mpumalanga, 14 schools in the Mkhondo and Nkomazi municipalities would be closed to make way for two new "no-fee" boarding schools.

The Western Cape had shut down three schools for "zero learner enrolment" while nine were closed because they were built on private land.

  • Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-19 21:09

    The rural population is too spread out, so I guess it makes sense to close some of these schools. It means a lot of really young kids are going to have to become boarders though, and unless this is free its not going to happen. I wonder what impact this is going to have socially on these areas. It would have been nice if better public transport was provided and the schools kept open. At least then the kids could sleep at home, but hell, a lot of these pickies spend hours of their lives walking too and from school. Then the damn headmaster arrives late in his smart car! Sad and bad situation.

      bernpm - 2012-01-19 22:33

      I live in a small village in North Cape. One primary and one high school. Nearest village in East, West and North direction: 70 km. South direction: 100/150 km. Classes of 50/60+ make people migrate their children to further away (hostel, boarder) or do home schooling. Closing schools in rural areas does not make sense against the backdrop of the financial performance of the Provinces.

  • TamaraSays - 2012-01-19 21:32

    Surely the R25.4 billion that has gone 'missing' from government coffers could have kept those schools open?

      ISO - 2012-01-19 21:47

      it surely could off!

      Saksak Motsepe - 2012-01-19 21:48

      Did you not read the article? Did you not see the word 'migrate'? Did you not see 'decline in pupil numbers'? People move Tamara like you are planning to do but unfortunately they can't move with the school. Those billions you talk about should have been used to BUILD new school and not keep empty schools open.

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-01-19 21:53

      Why? Cut the dead weight. Use resources at efficient schools and allow them to expand their operations and pay their staff a better salary. We don't need teachers who only come to school to collect their paycheck. Even the poor, illiterate rural parents have started putting two and two together. Good for them!

      TamaraSays - 2012-01-19 22:37

      I doubt those schools you mention will be built Saksak. They'll all get new baby seal boots instead. Made in chinese sweat shops. And maybe take a few baths in french champagne. You know, the usual ANC BS.

      TamaraSays - 2012-01-19 22:38

      Why not implement the Skype schools they have in India's rural areas? Oh. Wait. No tenderpreneur possibilities there. My bad.

      TamaraSays - 2012-01-19 22:39

      And Saksak, what about the 500 'sub optimal schools' in the Eastern Cape that are 'untenable to manage.' That's not the same as empty, is it?

      Megan - 2012-01-20 08:05

      Saksak did you not read that the reason for "migration"is because the people are sick and tired of useless teachers and no resources? As Tamara said, surely the R25.4 billion could have been better spent ensuring that ALL schools receive the necessary essentails (i.e. properly trained teachers, textbooks, etc) so that parents would not be forced to send their children to schools far away and probably at a greater cost to them than if the schools in their own areas operated properly?

  • Piet - 2012-01-19 21:45

    Where they apartheid built schools?

      Xenswim1 - 2012-01-20 08:39

      Piet, These schools were well established of good standing. The Old government tried its best to have a primary and high school in every town with the teachers to match. Farm schools were a case in point. Granted they were not the best maintained and parents had to buy books. Now they have no books and even fewer schools. Added to this in some towns the kids burnt down the schools in favour of liberation before education. The then government gave up trying maintain and service these schools as they were a deep pit. Some point everyone seems to missing, 1] No teachers because the ANC shut down all teacher training colleges. 2] The liberation before education continues. The ANC remain intent on being a liberation movement ergo education is not as top priority as is political expediancy. 3]Back in pre 1994 era the ANC used teachers as the springboard to forment discontent. Education was not top priority as it is amazing how many ANC were teachers in the towns and villages. Anyone dispute that they we used to achieve a political objective. 4] After 19 years and tender rigging schools remain waiting for books for three months into the school year. How hard is it to get that information from the school headmasters?

  • An observer - 2012-01-19 21:52

    Cry the Beloved Country. Shutting down schools does not make this irrelevant. What about education? When we ever learn?

  • mastersvoice - 2012-01-19 22:28

    So the assumption is that children not enrolled into rural schools have migrated to urban schools. I have another theory: children are not being enrolled into school, because these schools were so pathetic, they could learn pretty much the same by not attending school at all. These children are not going to any school now, and its simply convenient to shut down the rural schools. The ANC are not interested in educating our children - they want people to be uneducated or poorly educated, because the more uneducated the population, the more likely they will be to vote ANC!

  • Reinier - 2012-01-19 22:29

    I just love this ANC keeping their own ,thick as a brick and dumb as they come . I feel so previlaged for my forefathers that could get get of their arses and do something and make things happen. In white culture school and parenting are involved with each other. Seems in other cultures who the parents are is fuzzy?

  • Charmaine - 2012-01-19 22:49

    Really now! what is the matter with this Government of South Africa? The City schools are over flowing, and educators can not cope with the class rooms over packed. Our Education system really STINKS and that is the bottom line.

  • Alexis2719 - 2012-01-20 00:59

    It would be interesting to see percentage wise how many of those were "Afrikaans" schools. All part of the genocide going on.

  • seymour.howe - 2012-01-20 05:49

    QUOTE = Delivering his Budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Gordhan also announced an allocation of R8.3-billion for the Department of Basic Education to tackle the challenge of school infrastructure, while R1-billion goes to the funza lushaka teacher bursaries and bursaries for top students in natural science. The R8.2-billion windfall will enable the Basic Education Department to replace about 3 627 informal and unsafe school structures. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshegka said a large chunk of the money would go to the Eastern Cape to address the lack of proper classrooms there. Read more:

  • Grant - 2012-01-20 05:51

    The headline reads "over 4000 schools" yet the article reads "more than 4500 public schools". Whaever the approx number, News24 should be consistant. So many thoughts flood my mind. A week or so ago a minister (or was it Zuma himself?) announced that 2500 new schools had been built, a net loss of at least 1500. Until now the reports always spoke of overcrowded classes with not enough desks, text books etc. The fault of the ANC. Is the poor quality of teaching to blame? The fault of the ANC, they had the teacher training collages closed down. Have chidren come to the realisation that going to school is pointless when they see what's happened to their elders. The fault of the ANC. The ANC want the people to be illiterate. As Tutu said, "If people could read they would not vote ANC." The puzzling bit is where the report says the pupils are migrating. On their own? With their families? Where are they going to live and how will they support themselves? There is serious unemployment in the urban areas already. Are there enough places in urban schools for the reported migration of pupils? It' going to be an interesting year this.

  • Anthony - 2012-01-20 06:23

    so much for free schooling?

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-01-20 07:52

    If the ANC regime, the teachers and the unions did their work in the way it should be done, there would be no migration. In effect this migration suits the ANC as it leads to more previously white and Afrikaans schools eventually being taken over by black and English speakers. This wrong on way to many levels.

  • EyesEars - 2012-01-20 08:45

    What BS! It was the plan of the anc from the start to close certain schools in order to FORCE the children into schools the anc thought might have a possitive impact. One specific scenario comes to mind eg Ruyterwacht. How dumb does the anc think the people are and now they are blaming it on parents who want to have their children in better schools and the children are migrating due to underperformance. Total BS! To many money were stolen for campaign running and elections, that the government dont want these schools anymore, yet they want to over populate other schools, so they can steal even more money and pay less salaries on education. Come on! How stupid do you think we are????

  • Herbert - 2012-01-20 10:54

    Makes complete sense to me! Who needs schooling anyway in a country where the top role model achieved that status with only Grade 5!

  • Newsreader - 2012-01-24 07:06

    Ha ha ha..... ANC policy! Keep em dumb! Keep the vote!

  • Zebelon - 2012-01-24 23:02

    The country is mismanaged in all ways, and stoppage of mismanagement is not in sight.The tragedy is that the majority of voters don't have the capacity to observe this sickness.

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