Parliament, Tuesday, 18 January 2022 – The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education today concluded its oversight visit to assess schools’ readiness in the North West for the 2022 academic year.

Committee Chairperson, Ms Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, said the committee noted that the North West Provincial Department of Education is still under administration in terms of Section 100 intervention in North West province.

“We have had reports from the intervention team that the provincial education department has been giving its full co-operation. We have had that the intervention team found a willing management that is actively trying to find solutions. The team has indicated that authorities are willing to correct the wrongs that exist in the system currently and that should be commended,” said Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba.

She said the committee was able to visit 14 schools over the two days that it has been in the province. It engaged with several stakeholders that included the district, provincial and national education officials, school governing bodies, organised labour and the South African Principals Association.

Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba said the committee has noted that although the education authorities are trying their level best to correct the wrongs, there are challenges that still exist in the system and which the committee has called on all the role-players to continue their cooperation to alleviate them.

“Over the last two days we heard concerns regarding unplaced learners, scholar transport, delays in the delivery of learning material, the continuation of the 2019 placement of the North-West Department of Education under administration in terms of Section 100, unhealthy relations within school governing bodies and rotational teaching arising from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba.

Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba said the committee has noted that communication is lacking between the North West Department of Education and its stakeholders and that becomes a source of new challenges. The committee has called for promotion of communication between all stakeholders of the North West Department of Education.

In its engagements with the provincial department of education and its stakeholders, the committee also touched on the issue of the ability of schools to adhere to Covid-19 protocols and the vaccination of teachers and learners in the province.

“We found a mixed bag of schools in the districts we visited. The committee has seen well maintained schools as a result of good leadership and management. It was clear that those schools were performing well due to responsible and hands-on leadership. There were schools we visited where the situation was not too good. We noted tensions at some of the schools and we have called for the intervention of the provincial department to resolve those problems,” added Ms Mbinqo-Gigaba.

The committee will continue with its week-long oversight visit by visiting schools in the Free State from tomorrow.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION, MS BONGIWE MBINQO-GIGABA.

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