Basic Education portfolio committee concerned about state of readiness of Eastern Cape schools

05 February 2021 - 12:03
By yoliswa sobuwa AND Yoliswa Sobuwa
STOCK PHOTO: The committee was also concerned that  textbooks were only delivered to 20.7% of schools and the department had not concluded delivery of workbooks.
Image: Iavan Pijoos STOCK PHOTO: The committee was also concerned that textbooks were only delivered to 20.7% of schools and the department had not concluded delivery of workbooks.

The portfolio committee on basic education has expressed concern at the state of readiness for re-opening of Eastern Cape schools for the 2021 academic year.

This week the portfolio committee visited Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape to assess the state of readiness for the reopening of schools.

The committee visited the province on Thursday and has urged the national department of education to redouble its efforts to ensure that everything is in place for the start of the year.

Committee chairperson Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said they were mostly concerned about the non-completion of delivery of learner teacher support material (LTSM) to schools that procure these through the department’s system.

“The availability of LTSM is critical in any teaching and learning environment. We call for the department through its service providers to expedite the delivery of LTSM to schools, especially because they have two weeks until schools reopen,” said.

She said the committee was also concerned that textbooks were only delivered to 20.7% of schools and the department had not concluded delivery of workbooks.

“While the department assured the committee that delivery would be concluded by 15 February 2021, this was not reassuring, considering that schools where originally scheduled to start more than two weeks ago. It is a concern that the Eastern Cape system has a net vacancy of 1 595 teacher and school management team positions. This is worse in Alfred Nzo West district, with 135 vacancies, and Joe Gqabi with a 4% vacancy rate,” Mbinqo-Gigaba said.

  With regards to scholar transport, the committee welcomed the information that the Department of Transport has contracted service providers to transport 124 036 learners in 1 044 schools for three years.