R52m to repair damaged schools

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has declared an emergency at 200 storm-damaged schools in order to minimise delays in teaching and learning.

More than R52 million has been put aside to repair and rebuild schools ravaged by wind over the past few months.

When the schools re-opened yesterday some pupils continued their classes in tents while their classrooms were being repaired.

Provincial head of the department Cassius Lubisi said between July and August 30 schools were damaged by severe storms.

During October and December 2008 a further 200 schools had been damaged by storms, fire and winds, Lubisi said.

He said repairs were under way in many of the damaged schools in order to speed up the return to normal schooling.

Temporary accommodation was being provided at schools where learning and teaching had been rendered impossible.

Lubisi said the extent of the damage differs from school to school. Some buildings needed to be demolished while others required minor repairs.

"We are working around the clock to limit the inconvenience visited on our pupils by these natural disasters."

National Teachers Union deputy president Allen Thompson yesterday said were worried about the delays in restoring the classrooms.

"We are not expecting schools to be repaired in the blink of an eye. It will take time. We are also concerned about the teachers' situation.

"We would have preferred the department to have supplied temporary classrooms while structures are being repaired so that teachers could provide learning in a suitable environment," he said.