Oversight visits by the Portfolio Committee of Basic Education as well as the Telecommunications and Postal Services committees to schools in Limpopo and Port Elizabeth revealed that lack of internet and student protests are some of the issues young people in those provinces have to deal with.
Members of parliament are required to visit different areas around the country (oversight visits) to see what the situation is on the ground. Here is what they found:
Some progress made since PE school protests
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education is “mostly satisfied” with the progress made since the protests in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas in July. The protests, which led to some schools being closed for a week, were over lack of teachers in Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp.
Committee chairperson Nomalungelo Gina said the committee had a good meeting with the province’s head of education this week. They found that since the protests, a number of teacher posts had been filled. But they also found that some teachers have not been paid. “This is a serious concern to the committee. It needs to be addressed urgently. It is against the law not to pay these educators,” said Gina.
The committee was also concerned about the lack of Afrikaans teachers and therapists for learners with special needs.
Lack of internet in Limpopo’s schools
The Portfolio Committee of Telecommunications and Postal Services visited high schools in Limpopo and found the lack of internet access concerning.
“It is sad that there are secondary schools with computers, but without access to the internet in this day and age,” said Mmamoloko Kubayi, the committee chairperson.
She said that lack of internet was concerning because it further marginalised rural learners and lead to inequality in our society. Schools in the province received computers through a donation from the 2010 World Cup Legacy project. But most of them are not connected to the internet. Kubayi added that Telkom should conduct urgent assessments at these schools and make sure these schools get connected.
Telkom was instructed by the committee to report back on progress.
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