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Statement by Min Motshekga on progress made in delivering school infrastructure in terms of Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public Schools infrastructure: 14 Nov 2016

Statement by Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, MP, on the progress made in delivering school infrastructure in terms of the Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public Schools infrastructure : 14 November 2016

 

Good morning and thank you for attending this briefing which intends to provide an update on the progress made on infrastructure roll out in the basic education sector.

You may be aware that the education sector has been plagued with infrastructure challenges as we seek to not only accommodate the huge gains made in terms of access to basic education but also to deal with inappropriate or inadequate infrastructure.

Despite many challenges, progress has been made due, in part, to the immense political will and the efforts of those officials who have been working tirelessly to address the backlogs.

You may recall that in November 2013 we published the Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public Schools Infrastructure. This was the first time that Government had set itself targets of this nature in terms of school infrastructure. When considering these regulations we were aware of the immense task we had ahead of ourselves, but at the same time knew we could not allow the status quo to continue where schools did not have access to water, electricity or sanitation.

With this in mind and along with a determination to shake the sector into action we set ourselves very ambitious targets. These in the main included the provision of water, sanitation and electricity to all schools as well as the eradication of inappropriate structures, such as mud schools, asbestos schools and the “plankie” schools.

In acknowledging the backlogs and in a bid to fast track the provision of school infrastructure, a multitude of programmes specifically targeted at the provision of infrastructure have been undertaken by Government.

INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMMES

The sector provides infrastructure through two programmes namely: the provincial infrastructure programmes as well as the Accelerated School infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI). The Provincial Schools Build Programme is implemented by provinces and it targets the provision of basic services, new schools, additions to existing schools, new and upgrading of services and maintenance. It is funded through the Education Infrastructure Grant and the Provincial contribution through the equitable share.

Each Provincial Education Department (PED) is required to submit its infrastructure plan to the Department of Basic Education on a set of scheduled dates. Each PED identifies its targets in terms of the 3 year Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and progress is monitored and reported on Quarterly. The Accelerated School infrastructure Delivery Initiative is a programme driven by the DBE to address schools infrastructure backlogs on all schools that do not meet the basic safety norms and standards. It is funded through the Schools Infrastructure backlogs Grant. The purpose of the programme is for the eradication of schools made entirely of inappropriate structures and the provision of basic level of water, sanitation and electricity to schools that did not have these services. The two programmes are jointly responsible for the attainment of the targets set in the Norms and Standards.

PROVISION OF BASIC SERVICES

The sector has achieved relatively good progress in providing basic services (water, sanitation and power supply) both in terms of actual access to services, but also in terms of operational capacity of the sector to provide these services. The targets as articulated in the Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure, is to attain universal access to basic services provision by the 2016/17 financial year. To achieve the goal, key milestones were set as follows:-

 

  • 2014/15: 98% of all schools to have access to basic services;
  • 2015/16: 99% of all schools to have access to basic services;
  • 2016/17): 100% of all schools to have access to basic services.

 

Significant progress has been made in provision of the services in the sector.

 

 

 

PROGRESS IN MEETING THREE- YEAR TARGETS

According to Section 4 (3) (a) (b)) of the Norms and Standards, “All schools built entirely from materials such as asbestos, metal and wood, as well as all those schools that do not have access to any form of power supply, water supply or sanitation must be prioritised and complied with, within a period of three years from the date of publication of the Regulations”.

  1. SANITATION

According to the Norms and Standards for the three-year target, all schools which do not have some form of sanitation facilities must be prioritised. This was extremely important because I am unsure how anyone can expect a child to be in school all day and not be able to go to the toilet. As at October 2014, about 474 schools without some form of sanitation were identified. By the end of September 2016, some 408 schools were provided with sanitation and we continue to roll out and deliver on this progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1 Sanitation

PROVINCE

Total number of Schools  October 2014

Total number of Schools without Sanitation October 2014

Total number of Schools without Sanitation May 2015

Total number of Schools without Sanitation November 2016

Total Achieved  September 2016

% Achieved

Eastern Cape

5468

366

94

61

305

83%

Free State

1303

26

11

5

21

81%

Gauteng

2069

0

0

0

0

N/A

KwaZulu-Natal

5859

66

15

0

66

100%

Limpopo

3829

0

0

0

0

N/A

Mpumalanga

1746

11

8

0

11

100%

North West

1488

5

0

0

5

100%

Northern Cape

538

0

0

0

0

N/A

Western Cape

1440

0

0

0

0

N/A

Total

23740

474

128

66

408

 

 

With regards to progress in addressing the schools without any form of sanitation facilities, out of the 9 provinces, 7 have achieved the three-year target and these provinces are already addressing the seven-year targets.

Only two provinces will not achieve the targets, however, there are implementation plans and the projects are at different stages of implementation to address the shortfall. One of the challenges identified is the rationalisation and school merger processes which are taking place, where some schools have been identified for merger and others for closure.

 

  1. WATER

According to the Norms and Standards for the three-year target, all schools must have access to some form of water supply. As at October 2014, there were about 604 schools without some form of water supply that were identified. As at September 2016, about 523 of those schools were provided with water. Over and above the three-year target, provinces have moved to the seven-year target in this regard as well.

Table 2 Water

Province

Total number of Schools  October 2014

Total number of Schools without Water  October 2014

Total number of Schools without Water May 2015

Total number of Schools without Water November 2016

Total Achieved  September 2016

% Achieved

Eastern Cape

5468

339

241

58

281

83%

Free State

1303

65

33

23

42

65%

Gauteng

2069

0

0

0

0

N/A

KwaZulu -Natal

5859

183

171

0

183

100%

Limpopo

3829

0

0

0

0

N/A

Mpumalanga

1746

8

5

0

8

100%

North West

1488

9

2

0

9

100%

Northern Cape

538

0

0

0

0

N/A

Western Cape

1440

0

0

0

0

N/A

Total

23740

604

452

81

523

87%

 

 

 

Three provinces have achieved the three-year target; four provinces had achieved the targets before the promulgation of the Norms and Standards.

c) ELECTRICITY

It could be said that like the provision of water, electricity requires an infrastructure network that lies outside the provision of what we as the Education Department can supply. In this regard we rely heavily and work closely with Eskom and the various municipalities.

According to the Norms and Standards for the three-year target, all schools must have access to some form of power supply. As at October 2014, about 1-thousand 1-hundred and 31 schools without some form of power supply were identified. As at September 2016, about 560 schools were provided with power supply.

Five provinces, Gauteng Province (GP), Limpopo Province (LP), Mpumalanga Province (MP), Northern Cape (NC), and the Western Cape (WC) have achieved the three year target, of which Gauteng and Western Cape had achieved before the promulgation of the Norms and standards.

Again we will provide a table for your information.

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3 Electricity

Province

Total number of Schools  October 2014

Total number of Schools without Electricity October 2014

Total number of Schools without Electricity May 2015

Total number of Schools without Electricity November 2016

Total Achieved  September 2016

% Achieved

Eastern Cape

5468

377

244

187

190

50%

Free State

1303

71

37

25

46

65%

Gauteng

2069

0

0

0

0

N/A

KwaZulu -Natal

5859

628

610

343

285

45%

Limpopo

3829

1

1

0

1

100%

Mpumalanga

1746

40

16

13

27

68%

North West

1488

11

2

3

8

73%

Northern Cape

538

3

3

0

3

100%

Western Cape

1440

0

0

0

0

N/A

Total

23740

1131

913

571

560

50%

 

INAPPROPRIATE STRUCTURES

I would like to point out here that we are very proud of the beautiful, state of the art schools we are building through the ASIDI programme to eradicate these inappropriate structures. Anyone who has been to one of these beautiful schools will certainly agree that there is no doubt that as Government we truly are restoring dignity to education for our children. All of these schools comply fully with the norms and standards. I would encourage you all to make an effort to visit at least one of these schools that we are building as the National Department and I hope it will instill the same kind of pride in our country in you as it does in me.

 

According to the Norms and Standards for the three year target all schools built entirely from materials such as mud, asbestos, metal and wood must be prioritised. As at October 2014, about 510 schools built entirely from materials such as asbestos, mud, metal and wood were identified. In May 2015, additional 189 schools were identified. It should be noted that these additional schools were not funded as part of the ASIDI programme, and a request for additional funding was made to National Treasury. These schools will be factored into the provincial programme and will hence be addressed outside the set target period. As at September 2016, about 217 schools were completed.

Only two provinces, Limpopo and North West have achieved the three year target. Seven provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and Western Cape will not achieve that three year target.

It must also be noted that some of the schools identified in the original number are not considered viable schools and are forming part of the rationalisation and merger process. I am sure you would agree it does not make sense to build a school when it does not have nearly enough children to occupy it. This in itself is a lengthy process that is guided by legislation and guidelines. Let's be honest there have been instances where our own officials have not followed the guidelines. We have taken steps to ensure that the guidelines relating to mergers and rationalisation are strictly adhered to.

 

 

Table 4 Inappropriate Structures

Province

NO. OF IS IDENTIFIED AS AT 2012/2013

ADDITIONAL IS IDENTIFIED AS AT 2015/2016

REVISED TARGETS 2014/2015

PROJECTS COMPLETED   2014/2015-SEP 2016

THREE YEAR TARGET ACHIEVED\NOT ACHIEVED

Eastern Cape

442

72

514

126

25%

Free State

30

0

30

12

40%

Gauteng

0

29

29

0

0%

KwaZulu -Natal

3

0

3

0

0%

Limpopo

3

0

3

3

100%

Mpumalanga

5

16

21

13

62%

North West

1

3

4

4

100%

Northern Cape

1

31

32

3

9%

Western Cape

25

41

66

56

85%

TOTALS

510

189

699

217

31%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to continue to fastback infrastructure delivery, we have increased technical capacity by employing built environment specialists in provinces to fast track the provision of sector infrastructure and to ensure the achievement of the three, seven and 10 year targets.

Through the school rationalisation process, mainly in the Eastern Cape, and other provinces, the sector is ensuring that efficiency is achieved in the provision of services. A professional team of experts from the public and private sectors has been appointed and is working in partnership with the DBE, National Treasury, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education to fast track the process of the schools rationalisation in the Eastern Cape.

DBE has put in place mechanisms to support the provinces to ensure that there is efficient utilisation of existing funding resources through collaborative planning with other departments.

There are now mechanisms to enhance inter-sectoral collaboration with public sector agencies and the private sector to improve sector infrastructure delivery mandate. Protocols have been finalised within the public sector to ensure intergovernmental collaboration, to enhance partnership in order to fast track infrastructure delivery.

Enhanced Sector Infrastructure systems are already in place to enable effective monitoring, reporting and evaluation of DBE sector infrastructure delivery mandate. Plans and strategies are in place to ensure the effective implementation of the Standards for Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery management that will enhance and improve infrastructure delivery.

We all need to take into consideration that as far as the sector is concerned this is the first time in education that we have had norms and standards for school infrastructure. While we are not moving as fast as we would like we need to make it abundantly clear that the political will is indeed there. I personally want to see every school meeting, and exceeding, the minimum norms and standards and am doing everything in my power to ensure we get there.

THE NEW OF NORMS AND STANDARDS

Regulation 19(1) of the Norms and Standards calls for periodic review of the Norms and Standards to ensure that they remain relevant and are responsive to the latest developments in the sector. Indeed a number of developments have taken place in the sector which includes introduction of ICT in schools and a need for strengthening provisions for learners with disabilities. Also during these past three years we learnt that there are certain areas that need to be strengthened. Some of the proposed changes include the following:

  1. Strengthening the Governance Framework – which deals with reporting and the monitoring and oversight processes;
  2. Separate the Standards, which are not time bound, from the Implementation Plans that are time bound. This will be in line with best practices such as the South African National Standards;
  3. Simplify the timelines referred to in the current Norms and Standards for providing various functional spaces such as libraries and laboratories so that the emphasis is more on providing complete and fully functional facilities whenever projects are implemented on the schools;
  4. Introduce the Prioritisation Matrix that will guide the sector on which schools to prioritise based on the conditions of these schools;
  5. Include other education facilities such as Learner Accommodation Hostels thereby not limiting the document to school facilities only;
  6. Review of the space norms (sizes of various functional spaces) and functional relationships, which look at the location of various functional spaces relative to one another; and
  7. Include more technical specifications and technical standards to improve the functionality and habitability of these facilities.     

 

At the CEM meeting held last Thursday all MECS agreed to prioritise plans around infrastructure. It also emerged that provincial infrastructure data has not been adequately updated to include the most recent infrastructure programmes.

A resolution was taken by the meeting to ensure that plans and data were finalised by this Wednesday as part of the provincial reporting obligations in order to inform plans going forward. We will publish the provincial reports before the end of this month. It is in the best interest of the country that we make the reports available publicly to ensure that everybody can monitor the work that has been done and to also hold us accountable. Education is a societal matter and we encourage everyone to interrogate the reports and make input. We remain committed to restoring dignity to education by providing adequate school infrastructure for quality education.

 

Thank you

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Written By: WebMaster WebMaster
Date Posted: 11/14/2016
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