Problems in EC schools remain despite progress

There have been some improvements at Eastern Cape schools, but the education department is moving away from the National Development Plan.

STILL WALKING: Despite some improvements in Eastern Cape schools, pupil transport remains a problem for the department Picture: Michael Pinyana

This was said yesterday by the deputy speaker of the Eastern Cape Legislature, Bulelwa Tunyiswa.

She is part of a team of 13 members on the legislature’s portfolio committee on education who have been sent across the province this week on follow-up visits to schools.

This follows rulings by the legislature in response to findings of the committee after it visited schools in January.

The revisits started on Monday in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, where the chairman of the committee, Fundile Gade, presented an outline and spoke of progress made since the visit in January.

Tunyiswa said that in January the committee gave the department of education six months to implement the resolutions that had been taken.

Tunyiswa said one of the issues that had since received attention was the fencing of schools.

However, issues such as pupil transport and lack of specialised teachers at some schools were still a problem.

“We applaud the department for fencing schools. This ensures a level of security and creates a controlled, disciplined area for teachers.

“We are, however, concerned that our curriculum is not leaning towards the National Development Plan.

“For instance, we visited a school yesterday and learned that after the accounting teacher left she was replaced with a tourism teacher, which means that school or community has been robbed of the opportunity of producing an accountant.”

Tunyiswa also raised concern about what she called “wasteful” expenditure on adverts about things the department should be doing but was failing to do.

“The department puts in an advert calling for textbook requests to be submitted but when the final reports are tabled we find that those textbooks were never requested.”

Legislature spokeswoman Nombulelo Mosana said that in January the committee identified a shortfalls in the supply of textbooks, other learner support material and mathematics and science teachers.

Mosana said the committee members had looked closely at the high matric failure figures and established that the shortage of critical subject teachers, such as mathematics and physical science, had greatly affected the Grade 12 results. — arethal@dispatch.co.za

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