The North West Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Education has told the Department of Education that it will not approve the department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) if the construction of Maiketso Primary School and Ramotshodi Secondary School are not part of their financial plans for this financial year. This means that the department cannot spend its budget for the financial year if the Legislature has not approved its APP.

The Committee said this in a meeting with the MEC for the department, Wendy Matsemela and senior management discussing serious infrastructural challenges found during an oversight visit at Maiketso Primary and Ramotshodi Secondary School. The Committee had visited Maiketso Primary School in Morokweng, the only Full-service school in the area offering inclusive education accommodating learners with barriers in all grades. As of 2016, the school has 870 leaners and 26 educators with an average class size of 50 learners although there are classes which have up to 68 learners. There are 13 classrooms but only three (3) are conducive for teaching and learning, the rest are dilapidated.

The school was built by the community in 1980 and buildings are not in good condition. Learners use pit toilets and ablution facilities for learners are not enough due to the numbers in the school. The school needs a full-time remedial/learning support educator to support learners as not all educators are trained in specialised areas. Many requests dating from 27 November 2007 for intervention were made by the school to the department and nothing was done. The principal and SGB were then surprised by a contractor who allegedly told them that he was sent by the department to renovate the school and that they will not be getting a new school, but Chief Director for Auxiliary Services, Mr Lebogang Tire, explained that the renovation of the school was just a temporary measure that the department is planning to build them a school but the parents still insisted that the contractor told them that they will not be getting a new school.

Ramotshodi Secondary School which was built by the community of Moalogane in the 1990s has a learner enrolment of 229 and is a severely dilapidated cordoned building with serious cracks on the walls and damaged

window frames, no doors and ceilings. Learners are taught in four (4)warn-out, unstable and damaged mobile classes with broken windows and no doors. There are also two (2) damaged classrooms used for both National Schools Nutrition Programme and a teachers staff room. The Principal’s mobile office was blown-away by strong winds ten (10) minutes after he left the school premises in January 2016.

The Committee felt that they must call MEC Matsemela the same evening to know whether the department will build a new school for learners of Maiketso and Ramotshodi, what will be the temporary measure to accommodate learners whilst building and their plan in phases with a progress report and time-frame of building the two schools.

Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Boitumelo Moiloa said the department has to give a commitment as to what is going to happen with the learners at the school. “It can’t be that we keep our own children in expensive schools whilst the children of the people who elected us are learning in an environment that is not conducive for teaching and learning. It is very unacceptable that almost half of the roof of the classrooms for learners was blown away by the wind, this poses a serious danger to both learners and teachers.

“Service delivery in education department is not only a good Grade 12 pass rate but what happens with lower grades and infrastructure. They need to also focus on the lower graders and infrastructure. We are not here to police the department but to assist one another in providing services to our people. This is why we have taken a decision as a Committee that we will not approve the APP of the department if the two schools (Maiketso Primary and Ramotshodi Secondary Schools) are not in their plans for building,” said Hon. Moiloa.

MEC Wendy Matsemela promised that the schools will be built in the current financial year 2016/17. “The department has committed to do renovations which includes replacing roofing and fix toilets, windows and doors as a temporary measure. We have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Impala Platinum mine to build a new school at Ramotshodi Secondary and renovate mobile classes,” said MEC Matsemela.

The department has also promised to submit a comprehensive plan for addressing infrastructural challenges of schools in the province with time-frames of when will that be finished by today Friday 8 April 2016. The department will also submit a detailed report on the incident happened at Potchefstroom Hoer-Volkskool; North West School for Deaf and Christiana School for the Blind.

For more information, contact Ms Namhla Luhabe on 079 527 0628.