Infrastructure plays a role in matric pass rate

About 180 schools in Limpopo's five regions have been built and renovated in the past year with R600 million set aside for the provision of water and sanitation.

The shortage of proper infrastructure often negatively affects the outcome of the matric pass rate.

That was the message from Deputy Minister in the Presidency Rhulani Siweya in Limpopo at the weekend.

She said a conducive learning and teaching environment was necessary for the good performance of both teachers
and pupils, especially during the examination period. The Limpopo department of basic education revealed it had set aside R1.3 billion to address the chronic shortage of classrooms in mostly far-flung rural schools.

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In response to an enquiry from The Citizen, the department said it had built and renovated about 180 schools in the province’s five regions in the past year. It has also set aside R600 million for the provision of water and sanitation.

Spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said provision of proper infrastructure in schools was a priority for the department.

“The department has attended to infrastructure needs to many schools over the years and the provision of this important aspect is very close to our hearts,” she said.

Last month, some of the province’s schools were damaged by storms, which resulted in some pupils and teachers being stranded on the first day of school last week.

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A total of 33 schools were affected. The department said it had ordered 108 mobile classrooms to address the problem as a temporary measure, while a permanent solution was sought with the department of public works.

The deputy minister was in Relela village in Bolobedu outside Tzaneen last Friday. She was invited to check the appalling condition of the Matokane Secondary School at the invitation of former principal Gerson Molapisane, who is now mayor for Greater Tzaneen and ANC Norman Mashabane deputy regional chair.

The school has one dilapidated block ofthree classrooms and a few mobile classrooms. It has no administration block, library or science laboratory. Another block of three classrooms is used by teachers and the principal as offices, library, a storeroom and kitchen.

“In summer, some of us faint while others sleep in the middle of a lessons because of the unbearable heat,” said Grade 11 pupil Porchia Maake during the visit.

“Sometimes temperatures rocket to over 40ºC. Some of us bunk classes or stay at home because of the heat.”

Siweya told teachers, pupils and parents that poor infrastructure at schools often negatively affect the performance of pupils and teachers and the plight of the school was heartbreaking.

“I will relay [this] to the office of the presidency and to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga,” said Siweya.

She said in an endeavour to up the performance of pupils during exams, a conducive environment was a necessity.

“As for you my children, your pain is my pain. But hang in there, my kids. All you must do is to never let your impoverished background determine your destination.

“The fact that your background is poor does not mean you will also lead a pauper life. You must work very hard and become the person to change the status of your family background,” she said.

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