Coega joins government in improving schools’ infrastructure

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015

School infrastructure in the Eastern Cape Province is undergoing dramatic changes thanks to the Department of Education (DoE) and Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) commitment to improve teaching and learning environments. This is in line with government’s plan to eradicate mud structures in the province.

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has been appointed by the provincial DoE to assist with rolling out Eastern Cape Infrastructure School Building Programmes. These include construction of 25 schools, 20 of which had been successfully delivered by July this year.

In addition, water and sanitation programmes will improve 110 schools across the province that were identified as requiring work.

“During the 2015/16 financial year (FY), the CDC will build 71 schools in predominantly rural areas on behalf of the DoE, thereby boosting the quality of education for more than 42 500 children whose lessons have, until now, taken place in inappropriate structures,” said Thembeka Poswa, CDC’s DoE and Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) programme director.

The Eastern Cape projects also include the completion of DBE projects, such as Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela/ Thornhill Primary School in Thornhill, Port Elizabeth, valued at more than R27-million, and Nkanti Senior Primary School in Ntabankulu in the OR Tambo District, valued at more than R17-million.

Construction of Mayibenye Junior Secondary School in Libode, estimated at R21,5-million, was completed in August. The work at the Eastern Cape schools includes the building of administration blocks, Grade R classrooms, ablution blocks, multi-purpose classrooms, nutrition and dining centres, science laboratories, media centres, fencing, electrical installation and external works.

The upgrading of other DBE projects include five existing primary schools: Andrieskraal in Patensie, Dumezweni and Mbombo in Qumbu, Madlalisa in Mt Frere and Amamfengu/Clarkson in Kareedouw (Koukama Municipality).

“Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela/ Thornhill Primary School in Thornhill and Nkanti Senior Primary School created work for nearly 200 people, with some also gaining skills such as health and safety, work ethics, excavation training,  Personal protective equipment (PPE) training, technical training, and financial and life skills,” said Mbulelo Jokazi, CDC DoE unit programme manager. 

“The learners will enjoy the remainder of this school year in their newly built schools.”

Mandla Makupula, MPL and MEC for Education said during his 2015/16 budget and policy speech, that the budget allocation increased significantly from R1.23bn to R1.82bn, and the Department has timorously completed its planning and implementation plans and was ready to roll-out the infrastructure programme.

The coverage framework largely focuses on: Provisioning and improvement of basic services at schools, especially sanitation; Replacement of mud structures at schools; Rehabilitation, renovations and maintenance (particularly disasters); Provision of ECD centres; Facilitating and accommodating the re-alignment of schools.

Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications, said all children had the right to attend school in a building that will shield them from elements of nature.

“They have the right to be taught in facilities that are conducive to effective teaching and learning. Better schools are the desired outcome of the government and the CDC.”

Image: NEW LOOK: Nomzamo Madikizela Mandela/ Thornhill Primary School in Thornhill, before (second photo) and after (main photo) it was upgraded as part of the Department of Basic Education’s drive to improve infrastructure as part of the government-led Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).