400 mud schools in SA

A total of 400 schools in South Africa are built of mud, a basic education department document presented at a symposium in Pretoria today says.

The document, dubbed Action Plan 2014, says that although spending on school infrastructure increased by 39% between 2005 and last year, the backlog is so great that a long term view was necessary.

Currently 1?700 schools have no water and 700 no toilets.

“The estimated shortfall of 63?000 classrooms and the fact that 15?000 schools still have no library call for action that goes beyond the medium term,” the document says.

Targets have been set for bringing schools up to an “optimum level of functionality”.

Presenting the plan, basic education department director-general Bobby Soobrayan said there was a need for an adequate supply of young, inspired teachers.

The action plan had 27 goals. Thirteen dealt with what the department wanted to achieve in relation to learning and enrolment.

The rest dealt with how to achieve these goals.

The plan aimed to increase the number of Grade 12s eligible for entrance to bachelor’s degrees at a university, and those who passed mathematics and physical science.

It also aimed to ensure that children stayed at schools up to the year in which they turn 15.

Soobrayan said about 97% of all children were currently enrolled in schools.

“Where is the other 3%, which is about 350?000 learners? What is causing them not to go to school?” he asked.

Tomorrow is the deadline for public comment on the plan and also the day that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is to sign a delivery agreement with President Jacob Zuma.

Motshekga explained on Thursday that the plan was only a point of departure and an important “weapon” of change.

“We want an action plan to derive strength from broad consultation, rigorous debate and consensus building and policy development involving everybody,” she said.

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