National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS)
13 September 2007
The Department of Education is pleased to make public the first report of the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS).
NEIMS is an electronic planning and management tool, which allows for "real-time" access to information about the condition of infrastructure and facilities at each of the 28 742 public schools across the country. Following a comprehensive audit of each site, the NEIMS report has detailed information, including digital photographs, about every school - the land and buildings, the condition of these, as well as teacher and pupil numbers. This information is also mapped using GIS systems, which provides a useful overview of the spatial location and distribution of our schools.
This information was obtained from assessments conducted by trained professionals who visited every one of the schools, and a substantial part of the costs was met by a grant from the Royal Netherlands Embassy. By continually updating the database every time a school is built or upgraded, it should not be necessary to undertake this kind of audit again.
The report does show substantial progress since 1994, including the following:
* The number of overcrowded schools has fallen from 51% in 1999 to 24% in 2006
* The number of schools with electricity has increased from 11 174 in 1996 to 20 713 in 2006
* The number of schools without water has fallen from 8 823 in 1996 to 3 152 in 2006, and
* The number of schools without on-site toilets has fallen from 3 265 in 1996 to 1 532 in 2006.
The report concludes that some 74% of schools are in a good or excellent condition, which is encouraging. However it is also evident that substantial backlogs still remain in relation to the provision of facilities, and the standard of these. Regrettably, in some cases, once good facilities have been degraded due to vandalism, neglect and inadequate maintenance. 14% were found to be in a poor condition, and 12% very poor. In the Eastern Cape 40% of schools are assessed as being in a poor condition.
Some of the most concerning backlogs relate to the provision of water and sanitation to schools. These are basic needs and must be addressed as an urgent priority. In addition, and impacting negatively on the quality of education, only 7% of schools have adequate libraries, and 10% of secondary schools have functioning laboratories. 68% of schools have no computers - a huge challenge as we enter the digital age. Only 2% of schools are equipped for disabled learners.
NEIMS therefore provides the government, for the first time, with the ability to quantify and pinpoint these backlogs, and to plan for their eradication. A capital investment plan is under development, using the NEIMS data. In implementation the Department of Education will investigate innovative approaches to the delivery of infrastructure, including greater community involvement, as well as in regard to its financing. The determination of minimum Norms and Standards for Infrastructure, as proposed in the Education Laws Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, will assist in this process.
A summary of the NEIMS report will be available from 17th September 2007 on the website of the Department of Education. www.education.gov.za, and this will be published in due course. Meantime the database has been shared with other government departments, including Public Works, Water Affairs and Forestry, as well as Minerals and Energy Affairs, each of which has an important role to play, and with relevant agencies.
Detailed information about individual schools, Districts or provinces will be available from the Department, on request.