24 May 2017

South Africa: Massive Investment in Mpumalanga Education Infrastructure

Mbombela — The Mpumalanga Department of Education has set aside over R1 billion for infrastructure related to the sector.

"The department's 2017/18 infrastructure plan includes the commencement of the construction of the Thaba Chweu Boarding School, the completion of the six schools in Bohlabala District and Mtfophi Primary School at Ehlanzeni District.

"We share a view that when the condition of school facilities is improved, learning outcomes are also improved," said Mpumalanga Education MEC Reginah Mhaule on Tuesday.

MEC Mhaule was delivering the provincial Department of Education's R19 billion Budget Speech on Tuesday in Mbombela.

She said the construction projects were part of government's infrastructure minimum norms and standards policy, which aims to get all schools well-resourced with basic services and adequate structures.

MEC Mhaule said the province continues to work around the clock to ensure that all schools have basic services including sanitation, water, electricity and the eradication of inappropriate structures, in compliance with the infrastructure minimum norms and standards implementation plan.

"I am making a clarion call to all members of school governing bodies to ensure that these structures are properly maintained at all times, using the allocated maintenance budget and to report challenges should they arise.

"An amount of R1.166 billion is set aside to achieve infrastructure development in 2017/18 financial year," the MEC said.

For the past five years, the Department of Education in Mpumalanga has worked tirelessly to eradicate all mud and farm schools in the province. The department has built over five boarding schools and removed almost 10 000 learners from schools with inadequate structures to the boarding schools located in the four regions of the province, namely Gert Sibande, Ehlanzeni, Bohlabelo and Nkangala regions.

Improving matric results

With the province having recorded a 77.1% pass rate in 2016, down from 78.6% achieved in 2015, MEC Mhaule said all role players need to pull up their socks to improve on their National Senior Certificate outcomes.

She said the department is training 5 000 teachers on pedagogical content knowledge and facilitation skills in mathematics and science to make sure that 100% learners have access to the required resource material in all grades by the year 2020.

"The department has allocated R39.8 million for improving mathematics, science and technology teaching," MEC Mhaule said.

Tribute to OR Tambo

She said the department is consulting with the ANC and the family of struggle icon Oliver Tambo to name one of the province's maths, science and technology centres after him for his passion for maths and science when he was still alive.

MEC Mhaule said to have a good foundation in basic education, the department has to date appointed 292 Grade R practitioners, who fulfilled the criteria for employment in terms of the Educators Employment Act.

"[Approximately] 545 Grade R practitioners are in their second year of study and 300 practitioners are in their first year of study towards a National Diploma in Grade R Teaching at the University of North West," she said. - TLM

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