(Budget vote debate in Eastern Cape Legislature: Basic Education)
According to the MEC for Basic Education, Fundile Gade, the education of learners is top priority for the Eastern Cape provincial government.
But that is mere lip service if the conditions in which Eastern Cape learners are receiving their education are taken into account.
Textbooks and support materials are delivered late – if at all – and school infrastructure, like ablution facilities, and water and electricity supply, leaves much to be desired. This is a slap in the face of not only learners, but also the entire province.
Children are supposed to enjoy their school days, but for many, under the current circumstances, it is a punishment to attend school.
The Eastern Cape Department of Education is no doubt failing the current and future generations that must take the province forward.
The current budget of R38 billion could be doubled and it would still not make a difference seeing as the backlog with infrastructure improvement is so great that it will take many billions and years more to get it up to standard.
Making a promise to build 77 new schools is irresponsible, because the existing schools' infrastructure was not maintained over the past 20 years.
According to the MEC, the performance of Eastern Cape learners must be compared to the performance of learners from other countries with a similar level of development.
In the FF Plus’s view, that is unacceptable and an insult to the learners and educators who strive to compete with some of the best educational systems in the world.
Learners will never be able to reach their full potential under ANC rule.
Eastern Cape learners and educators deserve better.