Education department prepared for 2019 intake

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Newly-appointed education MEC Mlungisi Mvoko says the department is ready for the 2019 academic year, except for 26 schools in the OR Tambo district which were destroyed by a tornado and about 100 out of 5,400 schools that are yet to receive textbooks and stationery.
Speaking at the department’s last media briefing of the year on Thursday, Mvoko said the department was still busy assessing the extent of the damage at the schools.
“Whether the schools will be fixed in time when schools re-open in January will depend on the extent of the damage.”
The tornado which ripped through the district last Saturday, opened roofs and flattened walls at schools in Lusikisiki, Libode, Mthatha and Tsolo.
The affected schools include Mgezwa High, Bodweni Senior Secondary, Nyosana Junior Secondary, Bushula Senior Secondary and Phambili High.
Mvoko said stationery and textbooks had been delivered to 98% of the schools in the province.
“We are finalising deliveries with all our circuit and districts, monitoring delivery schedules and conducting spot-checks at schools,” he said.
The department has also taken a different approach to transporting pupils. This approach, according to the MEC involves going to each school and identifying each pupil rather than just getting a figure of pupils needing transport.
“We want to identify these learners not just by numbers but by names; we need to know who they are and where they are transported to and from.”
Based on allocated budget for 2019, the department could afford to transport 80,000 pupils.
The department of transport will still be responsible for scholar transport.
More than 1.6 million pupils from all quintile 1 to 3 (no fee schools) and special needs schools will benefit from the national nutrition feeding scheme in 2019.
Mvoko said final appointment letters of teacher were issued to all districts and all schools by October 20.
In terms of school infrastructure, the MEC admitted this was the department’s biggest challenge. Currently the infrastructure backlog stands at R70bn and with an allocation from the National Treasury of R1.4bn, is meeting the backlog virtually impossible.
The education head, Themba Kojana said they were prepared to deal with displaced pupils.
“We will have a helpdesk and a call-centre to deal with the issue.”
Schools open on January 9...

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