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Committee refuses to accept ECDOE excuses on challenges facing Port Elizabeth schools

Jan 20, 2017
Committee refuses to accept ECDOE excuses on challenges facing Port Elizabeth schools

The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee on Education visited schools around the Province since last week Wednesday till today [Friday]. The rationale behind the visit was to assess the schools’ readiness for 2017 calendar year and evaluate 2016 academic results.

Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) visited all Districts & Metro areas in different groups. Two groups, led by MPL Vuyani Limba and MPL Busisiwe Ndlangisa-Makaula, covered the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area.

Among the schools that were visited is Bayview Primary Schools in Helenvale, Northern Areas; Mzimhlophe Public Primary school in Zwide; Parsons Hill Primary School in Motherwell and Warmer West Primary Schools in Walmer.

The Committee is concerned with the number to problems affecting learning and teaching which include the following:-

  • Abuse of sick leave by teachers;
  • Unsolved cases at schools, resulting to Principals going on incapacity leave for more than 6 months;
  • Non-functioning of School Governing Body resulting from infightings;
  • Non delivery of Learner Teacher Support material (LTSM);
  • Gang violence & shootings;
  • Drug & alcohol abuse;
  • Shortage of classrooms;
  • Unfilled vacant funded posts;
  • Overcrowding of classrooms; and
  • Non availability of security personnel.

Port Elizabeth Acting Education District Director, Joy Grorbler, joined the Committee as it went about trying to assess and find solutions to the problems facing Port Elizabeth schools

Honourable Member of the Committee, Phumelele Ndamase, criticised the central procurement process of the Department of Education and said it was abnormal.

He said the Superintendent General of the Department; Themba Kojana, should resolve the issue of central procurement.

“We do not accept any excuses being made by the Department. This issue of textbooks and stationery has not been handled well this year and we are going to make a finding out of this,” he said.

Provincial Chief Education Specialist, George Lukwe accepted that the Department had failed to deliver LTSM to schools on time and blamed the distributors for the delay. He reported that MEC, Mandla Makupula, has taken a decision to visit the warehouse in East London to try and expedite the delivery.

“This is an unfortunate situation that schools are made to wait this long. We will try and see if we can take out some schools from the central procurement as it delays them,” he said.

Chairperson Ndlangisa-Makaula promised that the Committee would follow up with MEC for Safety & Liaison, Weziwe Tikana, about police patrols and visibility around the schools to curb the drug and gang problem.

She blamed the poor pass rate of the province to the problems the challenges faced by schools and the environment teachers are working under.

“If the Department can sort out all these problems, we can stop being number last on grade 12 results year-in-year-out. Education is a collective responsibility of all, not just the Department of Education,” the Chairperson said.

A post visit report will be tabled in the Legislature for adoption. Once it is adopted, House Resolutions, with findings and recommendations will be forwarded to the Department of Education for implementation.

A follow-up will be made on the implementation of the recommendations when the Committee visits the schools again in July.