A total of 48 mobile classrooms were delivered across Northern Cape schools to relieve pressures of overcrowding as experienced largely in Frances Baard and John Taolo Gaetsewe districts.
Education MEC Martha Bartlett said: “This is however a short-term solution towards our plans to build in brick and mortar. The delivery of school infrastructure remains a crucial performance indicator towards the provisioning of quality public education.
“The exponential increase in the school infrastructure conditional grant enables us to work towards the eradication of backlogs in educational infrastructure across the province.”
She said the magnitude of the school infrastructure backlog still remains enormous, however, “we are making steady progress in addressing these.
“The construction of two replacement schools, Phillipvale and Kitlanyang primary schools, have been completed during the 2016-17 financial year.”
The department has also completed the construction of two hostels at Lesedi High School (Batlharos) and Batlharo Tlhaping Secondary School (Mothibistad) and they are ready for handing over.
However the department within the 2016-17 financial year has been inundated with sanitation emergency projects within the Pixley Ka Seme district.
“These projects mainly occur due to outdated infrastructure and the calcination of old pipes. The department has up to date allocated R1.8m within 2017/18 in order to address the identified sanitation challenges,” Bartlett said.
The MEC said the schools will also be fully furnished: “Every child matters and every child must succeed. A conducive environment for learning and teaching is therefore imperative.
“During 2016-17, we delivered 6798 chairs and 760 desks throughout the province. We aim to provide a total of 4470 chairs and 484 desks to schools in need within the 2017-18 financial year.
“However, we also urge schools to replace and fix their furniture using Section 21 allocated funds. Prompt fixing of pupil furniture will ensure that future generations are adequately provided for and enable the department to invest more money towards other areas aimed at realising the improvement of quality public education,” she said.
The department is faced with a challenge of the peculiarity of the soil in the area, as well as the outdated infrastructure. They were anticipating more emergencies in that district in the upcoming year.
“The 2017-18 school infrastructure budget will in the main see to the continuation and completion of some projects started in previous financial years,” the department said.
Within the 2016-17 financial year, the department placed much emphasis on the repairs and renovations of hostels within the province and spent R51.2m on this programme.
The provision of proper hostel facilities remains a priority, thus a further budget of R39.5m has been allocated to hostel refurbishment in the 2017-18 financial year, the department said.