The Minister of Basic Education will publish the provincial plans for school infrastructure as she promised last year upon receiving the drafts from all provinces.
In the last meeting of the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) two weeks ago the infrastructure plans were discussed and it was agreed that provinces would finalise and prepare them for publishing.
The Department has nothing to hide, and it is unfortunate that some organisations want the plans to be rushed at the expense of internal processes. The insinuations by these organisations that Minister Motshekga and the MECs are hiding something are misleading, devoid of truth and disingenuous.
The process is as follows:
Once the Minister has received all draft plans, she will go through every one of them individually interrogating and scrutinising all details before she will be able to make inputs. School infrastructure plans need careful consideration as they affect the way provinces will in turn implement and deliver on this responsibility. It’s not as simple as coordinating a march and sleep over in a few places around the country. Contrary to what the attention seeking NGOs would have the public believe no time has been wasted, in fact an infrastructure directorate has been established within the planning and monitoring branch to deal decisively with the issue of infrastructure.
The Department of Basic Education and Provincial Education Departments are working tirelessly to ensure that the school infrastructure norms and standards are implemented in a systematic and efficient way. Accusing the DBE of an abdication of its duties is an insult to the hard work that all officials in the department have put into this and many other priorities.
The DBE has a reliable track record of transparency and it has always been the intention of the department to make the plans public in order to allow members of the public to monitor implementation and for relevant stakeholders to alert the department of any challenges that may be encountered during implementation. Key to the success of the school infrastructure roll out programme is monitoring. We certainly welcome being held accountable by organisations in the sector and members of the public but will not accept cheap tricks aimed at derailing our work in an attempt to grab headlines. Issues of school infrastructure are a priority and we don’t need to be reminded of this. The safety of all learners cannot be overemphasised and schools must work with SGB’s to ensure maintenance is done at a school level.
For the record…
In terms of the Regulations Relating to Uniform Minimum Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure, a Member of the Executive Council must provide the Minister with detailed plans on the manner in which the norms and standards are to be implemented.
This will enable the Minister and the Department of Basic Education to determine progress that is made with regard to the implementation of the norms and standards as well as, very importantly, to determine progress with regard to compliance with the timeframes.
The Minister of Basic Education will closely monitor the process of implementation of the norms and standards contained in the regulations and, when so required, will call for a review thereof, if it is deemed necessary.
The objectives of the regulations are to provide minimum uniform norms and standards for public school infrastructure. The regulations will also ensure that there is compliance with the minimum uniform norms and standards in the design and construction of new schools and additions, alterations and improvements to schools which exist when the regulations are published; and to provide for timeframes within which school infrastructure backlogs must be eradicated.
Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275
Troy Martens – 079 899 3070