The Department of Education is to close 136 unviable small Eastern Cape schools and move pupils to bigger and better-resourced nearby schools by the end of this year as part of the rationalisation programme.
In an attempt to improve the quality of education, the department announced in 2012 its intention to close 2 077 schools with very low enrolment figures and merge them with bigger ones for effective schooling.
The team leaders for the rationalisation project, Jonathan Godden and Phaphama Mfenyana, said the 10-year programme had officially started last year when the first notices were issued to a list of targeted schools and public hearings were conducted.
The following emerged from the interview:
The construction of hostels will be proposed in instances where schools are too far for the children to travel to;
Scholar transport is not guaranteed for the pupils affected by the merge;
The department gave the assurance that teachers, principals and support staff would not lose their jobs during the process;
and Schools which belong to the government will be handed over to the Department of Public Works and those built by communities will be given back to them.
Godden said the list of schools to be closed this year was awaiting approval from Education MEC Mandla Makupula and more public hearings would be conducted after the MEC’s input.
The schools listed for closure are located in 15 districts.
With 42 schools affected, Dutywa has the most, followed by King William’s Town with 24 and 15 schools in Sterkspruit.