THE Education Infrastructure Grant (EIG) for the Department of Education in Limpopo has been increased to R1.013 billion this financial year, MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe has said.
However, the department’s infrastructure unit remain with a high vacancy rate which has resulted in continued compliance challenges regarding financial and project management.
Delivering his budget vote speech at the provincial legislature this week, Kgetjepe said: “The demand for school infrastructure across the province is well documented as per the norms and standards for school infrastructure.
“This is a matter that we are addressing every financial year in order to ensure quality education at our schools. The reality is that it is impossible to satisfy all the infrastructure demands placed on the education system in one financial year, but we are happy that since 2014 financial year, the Department has spent every cent allocated for school infrastructure.”
He said the department targeted 247 schools with the provision of sanitation facilities. Projects at 213 schools have almost been completed.
“We have also provided water to 62 schools and the delay in other schools especially in Mopani is attributed to drought in various parts of the province., where the water table has significantly dropped. We hope to shall have completed these projects by the end of July 2018 …..
“Unfortunately, many challenges remain, and the budget received remains inadequate to address all of these challenges at once. We therefore request our communities for patience and for their assistance in protecting and improving our education facilities, and thereby protecting and improving our collective future in the province,” Kgetjepe said.
He also announced that the department will continue with the merger of small and non-viable schools in accordance with the call by the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. He said the small schools were a drain to resources and a burden in terms of learner performance and Grade 12 results.
In the 2017/18 financial year, the number of merged schools increased from 201 to 257: We have a responsibility to reorganise our schools to increase efficiency and reduce waste. We have to rescue our educators in small schools who are overwhelmed with a lot of work and communities often do not understand that resources to schools are allocated in terms of learner enrolment,” Kgetjepe said.