Scrutiny over state of schools’ infrastructure

SEKHUKHUNE – Considering a variety of issues including the provisioning of school infrastructure, the Portfolio Committee on education recently conducted oversight work on the state of school infrastructure in the country.

Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, Chairperson of the committee, indicated that it was empirical the state of the infrastructure needed a collective approach to improve learning conditions in mostly-affected provinces such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Limpopo.

Following that, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, hosted a two-day session at the DBE Building in Pretoria from 04 May – 05 May 2021.

Provinces in their presentations highlighted that the national lockdown, budget cuts and school damages incurred by storms were factors hindering progress in the acceleration of school infrastructure.

The Portfolio Committee acknowledged the DBE’s efforts in addressing the infrastructure backlogs through the implementation of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) and that Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE) initiative.

Minister Motshekga said that private sector’s contribution in improving school infrastructure in rural communities played a significant role and added that the provision of water and sanitation and the delivery of new schools to several school communities was carried out in various provinces through ASIDI and SAFE.

“The primary objective of the SAFE initiative was to replace basic pit toilets with appropriate sanitation in accordance with the norms and standards for school infrastructure. The number of toilet seats to be provided was determined by learner enrolment. Such number of seats included age-appropriate facilities in primary schools, as well as facilities for the disabled in all schools. The scope of the work included assessment of existing sanitation infrastructure, desludging of the existing pit toilets, demolition of the existing pit toilets, construction of appropriate toilets, provisioning of rain water harvesting tanks and construction of walkways,” said Motshekga.

She added that the objective of ASID was to eradicate the Basic SAFETY Norms backlog in schools without water, sanitation and electricity to replace those schools constructed from inappropriate material such as mud, plankie and asbestos to contribute towards levels of optimum learning and teaching.

“Through ASID, he DBE managed to build 266 new schools to date and provided 886 sanitation to various schools in identifies provinces. ASIDI further provided water to 1030 schools and electricity to 372 schools in the country,” concluded Motshekga.

 

Thapelo Motseo

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