Despite cleaning-up operations and repairs to road infrastructure in Kwa-Zulu Natal following devastating floods two weeks ago, 62 schools are still not accessible.
The Department of Education in the province says it will provide about 100 mobile classrooms to the affected schools. It says this is a short-term solution as it rebuilds partially-damaged schools and the Department of Transport repairs and rebuilds access routes.
School children continue to feel the effects of the deadly floods, of the more than 430 people who died in the province, 64 were learners, with about 630 schools have been affected, while 124 suffered serious damage.
Learner transport in many areas is unable to reach some of the schools due to collapsed infrastructure. The hardest hit areas are north of Durban – including Inanda and Molweni in the eThekwini Municipality.
Departmental HOD Nkosinathi Ngcobo says, “We are rolling out a program of rehabilitation on our schools infrastructure, we have just signed off with providers who are going to be erecting mobile classrooms in schools that were partially damaged. In the sense that some structure in the schools were working but some had been damaged such that they are not usable.”
KZN FLOODS | More relief from SA Red Cross for affected families:
Teacher unions South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and National Teachers’ Union (Natu) say although they are happy with the progress so far, they are concerned about the slow response in addressing priority areas.
Provincial Sadtu Secretary Nomarashiya Caluza says, ”The progress is slow but we know that it’s because of what we are confronted and what we are dealing with. So we will continue to monitor but we still have those schools that are not accessible and the plans in other schools seem to go very slow but we are hopeful that working together the department will be able to assist, working together in the sense of other departments also going in but our fear those schools that are told to do the task on their own.”
Meanwhile, Natu’s Phindile Mnabe has raised concerns about learners who are still sitting at home.
Mnabe says, “The department is trying but it’s not as fast as we would expect it to be because at some stage where schools are not accessible, learners are still at home and educators are either reporting at home or at other schools or at circuit offices. So, it’s not going as fast as we wish, noting that we are at Term two and exams are soon to resume. So we are not happy with the speed at which it is going.”
The Department of Education says as an interim measure, affected school children are encouraged to attend their nearest accessible schools.
KZN FLOODS | Over six hundred schools damaged: