Exposed: shocking state of KZN

The shocking state of some KwaZulu-Natal Schools was revealed during provincial legislature oversight visits: Picture: DA

Exposed: shocking state of KZN schools

Some KwaZulu-Natal schools are in a shocking state with broken toilets and crowded classrooms provincial legislature oversight visits revealed this week.

Exposed: shocking state of KZN

The shocking state of some KwaZulu-Natal Schools was revealed during provincial legislature oversight visits: Picture: DA

The shocking state of some KwaZulu-Natal schools has been revealed during the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) provincial legislature oversight visits this week which showed schools are still not properly compliant with Covid-19 regulations and that they face other series structural problems such as leaking and broken toilets.

The oversight visits come a week after the national Education portfolio committee visited KZN to conduct its own inspections of schools in the province.

DA Member of the Provincial Legislator and education spokesperson Imraan Keeka said he had serious concerns regarding whether the department was ready to begin the 2021 school calendar. Learners returned to school on February 15.

Shocking findings at KZN schools

Some of the findings at schools Keeka reported included:

  1. At Dlangani High School in the Harry Gwala District only 42 masks had been received for 694 learners. The supplier had apparently informed the deputy principal that the masks delivered were for educators only and that he had delivered them ‘because some people are coming to check on the school’. The school short of six classrooms which is affecting Grades 8,9 and 10 teaching and learning, even with the platooning system in place.   There are also insufficient mobile handwashing stations, while those that exist are of poor quality, with many leaking. This is a problem that was encountered at several schools. The  hand-washing stations were only delivered last year. DOE officials advised that they will need to check whether there are guarantees in place for these items.

“Those that do not work properly or are broken must be removed and replaced as a matter of urgency,” Keeka said.

2. At Moses Zikhali Secondary in Mbazwana, the DA found 46 children stuffed into a 10 x 10 metre classroom.

 3. At Celani Primary in Madadeni there were 25 learners in a small classroom in breach of Covid-19 protocols which require a maximum of 20 learners per class

4. At Woodlands Primary in Pietermaritzburg, PPE was insufficient with no sanitiser or classroom disinfectant delivered. Only half of its mask consignment had been delivered.  The school is constructed with asbestos – a finding at several of the schools visited.  They toilets are broken and without proper walls.

“This is a disgrace given that this school was scheduled R46 million upgrade in 2018, which is yet to begin. The school also draws from a poor community, yet it is classified as a quintile 5 school, thereby disadvantaging learners. This must be addressed without delay,” Keeka said,

5. At Siyathuthuka Primary in the Amajuba district, there was open pit which was dug last year to build toilets.      “Shockingly, it has been left open since then and become a deep pool. In a primary school with hundreds of young children, this is a disaster waiting to happen. The area was apparently only fenced off last week in preparation for the Legislature’s visit,” Keeka said.

6. At Mbasela Primary in Machobeni in Durban, there was no teaching and learning taking place due to conflict between teachers and the school management. 

7. At KwaMnayandu Primary School in Pietermaritzburg Grade R toilets were shockingly sub-standard.

8. At Enkumba Primary in the Harry Gwala district, learners are forced to use pit toilets while vandalism is rife. There is also no internet connectivity for the school’s learners. This was witnessed in many schools.

Learners still cross rivers to get to KZN schools

Keeka added that learner transport was another major challenge facing education in the province.

“The issue of learner transport also continues to affect far too many KZN learners, with the official figure suggesting that 130 000 children need the service. The real figure may be much higher. Yet we still have learners crossing rivers to get an education, despite government’s commitments to make sure this does not happen,” Keeka said.

“Many of the challenges identified during the past two days, have existed for years. The fact that we are now also dealing with a global health pandemic has only compounded the situation. While the oversights focused primarily on the obvious, there is also the silent aspect of what this virus is doing to our educators and learners,” he said.

“If KZN’s provincial government is serious about fighting Covid-19, then all schools must be supplied with sufficient, quality PPE to avoid a situation where such environments become super spreaders of the virus.”

Education department takes action

Responding to Keeka’s list of concerns about the state of KZN schools, KZN education department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said:

“We are very much aware that oversight is a function granted by the Constitution to the legislative sector to monitor and oversee government actions. All these challenges that are being raised in this statement are already receiving attention by relevant authorities within the department.”

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