The Eastern Cape department of Education says it’s prioritising the issue of poor schools infrastructure in the Province. The Province still has schools operating without water and sanitation.

The Department made the commitment during the two-day Education Summit in Ngcobo.

Many rural schools in the Eastern Cape are still without clean running water. Some schools are still using pit toilets, while in some schools learners and teachers are sharing ablution facilities.

The poor infrastructure impacts learning and teaching.

Parents and SGB members often raise concerns about the health and safety of their children.

“We are worried, more especially for our little children when they want to relieve themselves. The school itself is in a bad condition. It’s not even fenced. There’s been a series of break-in incidents at this school”.

“Since 2018 after the school was hit by a tornado, our principal reported it to the education department. He has been seeking help ever since and we’ve been told to wait. Till now we are still waiting.”

The department says it will be rolling out a plan to deal with these poor infrastructure challenges.

“Nationally, the matter has been reported to be a crisis and it’s a crisis point and as a result of that the minister together with the MEC they then agreed on a program called ‘safe’ which is sanitation program that is focusing on schools with sanitation issues. Then that adds to the problem of infrastructure related to toilets, sanitation, water in schools. I’ll avail figures in terms of how many schools are we targeting this year for the safety program,” says Acting HoD, Monwabisi Tywakadi.

Mud structures

Education MEC, Fundile Gade, reiterates that the department is now busy addressing the issue of mud structures and dilapidating infrastructure.

“We have started a program of handing over now completed projects of schools that have been built in the province. About 30 of them. We have handed over eight now. We should be finishing that program by July/August of handing all those completed projects across the province into all communities. But at the centre of that for me is on how the people of the province accept that there is a need of restructuring the education in the province.”

The MEC also decried the recent incidents of bullying as well as reports of corporal punishment reported in some schools in the Province.