South Africa: Department of Basic Education to Deal With School Challenges
The Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty, has committed himself to intervene in the review of a school’s quintile level and the provision of scholar transport for learners in the Eden District Municipality in the Western Cape.
Mr Surty was responding to some of the concerns raised by members of the community during the public hearings on basic and higher education, held at the Bridgton Sports Grounds as part of the Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) programme in George.
Members of the public complained that some schools were classified as quintile 4 schools while they had a large number of learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. During the NCOP’s pre-visits for the TPTTP programme in March, two examples of such schools were given as PW Botha High School in George and Hillcrest Secondary in Mossel Bay.
These two had previously been “Model C” schools but had since enrolled a large percentage of poor learners. Mr Surty said they would initiate moves to have the schools which fall in this category to be reclassified.
“The decision to change the quintile system of a school is taken by the MEC for Education. This is done particularly when there are factors that could lead to the need to change the quintile.
“Given that we have heard that most of the pupils [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][at the school the community members spoke about] are from disadvantaged backgrounds, that is certainly a basis for a review of that particular quintile,” said Mr Surty.
He added that changing the quintile of the school would have at least three positive effects.
“Firstly, it will be a no fee paying school. There would be no single learner who would have to pay fees at that school.
“Secondly, the allocation that the school receives per learner will be far greater than if it was a quintile 4 school. Thirdly, it will be entitled to nutrition.”
Mr Surty said both himself and Mr Ricardo Mackenzie – an MPP in the Western Cape Legislature who formed part of the panel – would raise the matter with MEC Debbie Schäfer.
Another issue to be raised by Mr Surty with the MEC is that of learners travelling for about 7km to school, as voiced out by members of the public.
“The national norm is that where a learner has to walk more than 5km to school, transport has to be provided. We will indeed raise this matter with the MEC for Education,” said Mr Surty.
Community members also complained about racism and improper management at schools as well as at a public TVET college and a private learning institution called African Skills College. Mr Surty asked for more substantive information to be provided on such allegations so that they could be investigated further.