3 October 2012
President Jacob Zuma opened 49 new schools in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday as the government moved to improve education in the province with a multi-million rand programme to replace “mud schools” with proper facilities.
A total of 12 450 learners in the districts of Libode, Lusikisiki and Mthatha are expected to benefit from South Africa’s Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (Asidi), which aims to eradicate inappropriate schools, as well as refurbish dilapidated and ill-equipped schools.
At Mphathiswa Senior Primary School, Zuma marked the programme’s implementation “by replacing 49 inappropriate schools with new schools, providing 190 schools with electricity, providing 237 schools with sanitation and providing 173 schools with water,” the Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 49 school sites, located in the Libode, Lusikisiki and Mthatha Districts, were handed over to 16 contractors in January. The construction value is approximately R675-million.
Small primary schools would be provided with seven classrooms and medium primary schools with 14 classrooms, while each school would be provided with a Grade R classroom, administration block, science laboratory, multi-media centre (library and computer lab), multipurpose class room, nutrition centre, ablution facilities, water infrastructure and electricity, the Presidency said.
Countrywide, the programme had so far seen 155 schools in seven provinces being provided with sanitation facilities, 187 with water and 99 with electricity.
In the 2012/13 to 2013/14 financial years, the programme aims to replace 100 inappropriate or “mud schools” with new schools while providing 714 schools with electricity, 514 schools with sanitation and 1 069 schools with water.
In the 2013/14 to 2014/15 financial years, it aims to replace 346 inappropriate schools with new schools.
Opening the new Mphathiswa Senior Primary School, Zuma reiterated his call for teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day. “We cannot meet our target of 100 percent enrolment for 2014 while we do not have proper schools and qualified teachers,” he said.
“The challenge remaining on the part of this school and the other schools we are providing with new facilities is to ensure that these facilities are maintained in good form and that every attempt should be made to preserve this investment for the benefit of future generations.
“Our learners, educators and our parents need to know that new facilities are not all that is needed for quality education,” Zuma said.
The President said that quality education also depended on the enthusiasm and dedication of learners and the skills and commitment of educators.
“We would also like to invite communities to make more use of our schools. Remember, they are public schools, not state schools! Use them after hours for social, cultural, religious or sporting activities. Make them the centre of your community – a place where children feel at home.
“School sport events, or music festivals, create a wonderful sense of community spirit, and help also to seal some of the gashes that remain in the fabric of our society,” he said.