'Classroom shortages will soon be a thing of the past'

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The department of education in Limpopo is on course to rid the province of tree, mud and shack classrooms.

This follows the opening of five state-of-the-art schools and handing over to communities.

The schools are Sevengwane High, Greenside Primary, Nivana Primary, Nthame High and Fetakgomo High.

MEC for education Aaron Motsoaledi said the new schools boast a computer centre, science laboratory, biology laboratory, home economics centre, nutrition centre, administration block, library, toy library for primaries and 1000-capacity school hall and modern classrooms.

"After 15 years of democracy, the department has been able to address the backlog of classroom shortages that was left by the obnoxious white apartheid government," Motsoaledi said.

"At the dawn of democracy in 1994, South Africa inherited a 64000-classroom backlog and Limpopo alone was short of 35000 classrooms.

"Today Limpopo children will be taught in classrooms equipped with teaching aids and other necessities," Motsoaledi said.

"Principals and educators were in some instances forced to use old cars and school verandahs, while circuit managers used tribal offices as their work stations due to lack of buildings.

"The Limpopo department of education has committed itself to changing this apartheid-era scenario," he said.

The department has further committed itself to building new schools, classrooms, administration blocks and circuit offices in the five districts of the province.

Motsoaledi emphasised that five of the circuit offices had already been completed and handed over to communities, while a further 27 had been commissioned for this financial year.

He said 12 of these are under construction.

Motsoaledi said his department would officially open a school a month from June to December in an endeavour to get rid of mud, thatch and tree classrooms.

When the schools were officially handed over to communities a fortnight ago, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Education Minister Naledi Pandor joined President Kgalema Motlanthe to celebrate with pupils and parents in Mopani, Capricorn and Sekhukhune districts.