Basic Education Makes Progress With School Infrastructure Challenges

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Infrastructure challenges have long been an issue in the basic education sector. These issues include schools with pit toilets and no access to the internet or libraries.

 


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In 2020, the Non-Governmental organisation, Amnesty International highlighted that the South African education system is characterised by crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms, and relatively poor educational outcomes.

The organisation’s report also indicated that it is perpetuating inequality and as a result failing too many of its children, with the poor hardest hit.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has informed the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education that it is estimated that in 1996 there were about 1 000 schools made entirely of inappropriate materials

In a statement, the Department of Basic Education said the ASIDI programme saw a decrease in numbers from 510 to 332, with 330 schools made of inappropriate materials replaced. 

The remaining two schools have been scheduled for completion in the 2023/24 financial year. Whilst Basic Education has managed to complete 1292 schools, and only the remaining 14 water supply projects are scheduled for completion in the 2023/24 financial year.

When it comes to electricity supply, the Committee has heard that 373 electricity supply projects are expected to be completed in the next financial year.

Basic Education recorded a total of 3265 schools in 2006, initial 701 schools were placed under the ASIDI programme and the number of schools that have been replaced has exceeded this number.

According to the Schools Register of Needs, it was recorded that 9 600 schools depended on basic pit toilets in 2006. 

A total of 3 898 schools were placed under the SAFE initiative in 2018, more than 2 700 schools have been completed and 667 sanitation projects are expected to be completed in 2023/24.

“We note that this has taken much longer than many of us would have wanted,” said Committee Chairperson, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba. However, the Committee will be keeping a close eye on the progress that will be made by the infrastructure projects.

How Does Poor School Infrastructure Affect Learners?

The infrastructure in South African schools is in dire need of improvement, with many schools lacking basic facilities such as water, electricity, and proper sanitation. This has a significant impact on the quality of education that learners receive.

Poor school infrastructure can also have a negative impact on the health and safety of learners, as well as their motivation to attend school. 

In South Africa, a child's access to quality education is often dependent on their socio-economic status and the color of their skin, which exacerbates inequalities in the education system.

 

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School with unsafe infrastructure

The legacy of apartheid means that schools in mostly black and impoverished areas did not receive infrastructure that was appropriate and conducive to effective learning. While laws are in place to rectify the crisis facing many schools, the problems persists and learners continue to suffer.

 

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