Pretoria: Government has since the dawn of democracy built 1 516 new schools in the Eastern Cape, 202 of which were constructed during the current term, says Premier Noxolo Kievit.
Delivering her State of the Province Address in the provincial Legislature on Friday, Premier Kievit said 1 467 of the schools were funded from the provincial infrastructure budget and 49 were built through the national Department of Education’s Accelerated School Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI) which started last year.
ASIDI aims to replace inappropriate school structures, address basic services backlogs and the provision of these services. It forms part of government’s 13th Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP), which relates to the rebuilding of schools.
South Africa, had inherited, from apartheid, a large number of schools in all provinces that had no water, sanitation and electricity, the bulk of the challenge being in the Eastern Cape.
Premier Kiviet said construction on a further 160 schools was underway. “This means that at the end of this term, alone, we will have constructed 362 new schools.”
She said in order to improve access to quality education, the school nutrition programme was provided to all the schools in quintiles 1-3.
“This means that of the 5 552 schools in the province, 5 132 schools and 1.6 million learners are now benefitting from this programme.”
She added that the province has started implementing government’s indigenous language policy that will ensure that at least one African Language is compulsory in schools by 2014. So far 101 of the 338 schools which previously did not offer any indigenous language have implemented the policy.
“Furthermore, 5 336 schools, with 1 580 738 learners, have been declared as no-fee schools,” added Premier Kievit.
The provincial government has also committed to the timely delivery of Learner and Teacher Support Material (LTSM) which has improved to 100% of textbooks over the past two years.
She said in 2013, the Eastern Cape was the leading province on the procurement and delivery of LTSM.
The number of funded Early Childhood Development Centres has increased from 893 in 2009 to 1 324 in 2013. This created 5 456 job opportunities.