Motshekga comes under fire

PROVINCIAL ISSUES: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga with pupils, from left, Mzwakali Siyanda, Mayekiso Luthando (both Lungisa High), Lipilo Neliswa (Tyhilulwazi High) and Lwandiso Mbovane (Khayiso School) at the Matric Second Chance support programme roadshow in Bethelsdorp

Education minister bombarded with questions at Matric Second Chance roadshow

If the Department of Basic Education was efficient and did its job right the first time around, there would not be a need for a Matric Second Chance programme. This was the view of parents and young people at the second chance support programme roadshow in Missionvale at the weekend.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was bombarded with questions by residents, who raised concerns about the state of education in the Eastern Cape.

Parent Luyanda Poti urged Motshekga to use some of the department’s resources to rather prevent pupils from failing matric.

“This programme should not even exist if the department got it right the first time,” he said.

“[You should rather] focus on the problems that led to such a programme being needed.

“Prevention is better than cure. We need to prevent these things so pupils do not need a second chance,” Poti said.

A lack of schools, the abysmal matric results, scholar transport, teacher shortages and teenage pregnancy, as well as drug use in schools, were among the issues parents brought to Motshekga’s attention.

Others issues included unemployment and crime, which lead to the vandalism of schools.

Another parent, Andile Matikinca, said there was a need for more schools in the metro.

“We have a problem with a lack of schools in KwaNoxolo – there is one school that has 1 900 pupils, and there are not enough teachers to accommodate all these pupils,” Matikinca said.

“This is something that we have brought to the attention of the district but nothing ever happens.”

Motshekga failed to answer many of the questions put to her.

She said she had not anticipated the roadshow becoming an “education imbizo”.

“I assumed that I would be discussing the Matric Second Chance programme. We come to the province frequently to deal with the schooling system,” Motshekga said.

“We look at problems of drugs and all sorts of problems, it’s not as if we are not aware that there are problems which make things fall apart.

“The reality is solving drug-related problems is not something we [can] do overnight, but we cannot wait until we have a perfect system before we save those who are victims of circumstances.”

Motshekga said in an interview later she could not answer questions on the dysfunctional scholar transport system, teacher shortages and the lack of schools as they were provincial issues that she would communicate with the Eastern Cape education MEC on Thursday.

On textbooks and stationery, she said all she could do was monitor deliveries.

“I cannot guarantee that delivery will be completed sooner in the future because the budget is with the province, the planning happens there.

“All I can [do] is monitor and support them with advice, but that is where it starts and ends,” Motshekga said.

The roadshow was aimed at supporting former pupils who had failed their matric exams or wanted to improve their results.

The exams start today.

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