The DA in the Eastern Cape has condemned the “disorganized rationalisation of schools in the province” and has called on Education MEC Mandla Makupula to place an urgent moratorium on such rationalisation until a proper execution plan is put in place.
In a statement DA MPL and shadow MEC for education Edmund van Vuuren said he had recently conducted an oversight visit to Phakamani Senior Secondary School in Mtwakazi village near Whittlesea where learners were moved to Mzamomhle High School which is located approximately 10 kilometres away in Hackney due to a shortage of teachers. Phakamani SSS was identified as an unviable school.
“Three taxis (one 15 seater and two 20 seaters) transport the learners to school. 16 learners are left without transport, three of whom use their pet horses as a mode of transport and the rest would have to pay R26 taxi fare per day.”
In addition to this, he said, learners had to adapt to the poor conditions of their new school which has broken windows, poor ablution facilities, no water and an insufficient number of classrooms for the 165 learners from both schools.
“Parents have also complained that the move from a relatively new and secure school building in Mtwakazi to a mud structure where multiple break-ins have taken place and learners study in constant fear has contributed to the 28.7% drop in the school’s matric pass rate. The matric pass rate for Phakamani SSS dropped from 94.7% in 2015 to 66% in 2017.”
Van Vuuren said the schools had now been informed that they will have to merge with Zweledinga High School in Yonda village.
“An oversight visit to Schoombee Primary School also revealed major communication discrepancies between the department and schools that are identified for closure. 35 Schoombee learners are allegedly not attending school as the Department has not provided sufficient scholar transport vehicles.
Section 12 of the South African School’s Act (SASA) clearly states that the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) must give written notice of the intention to merge two or more schools and publish a notice stating the reasons for the proposed merger in one or more newspapers circulating in the areas where the schools are situated.”
He said he would be raising the matter in the next Education Portfolio Committee meeting at the provincial legislature.