President Zuma opens EC schools

President Jacob Zuma has opened 49 schools in the Eastern Cape as part of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee and the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

The ASIDI initiative aims to supplement the provincial school infrastructure programmes as well as eradicate all mud schools.

“At Mphathiswa Senior Primary School, the President began with the programme’s implementation by replacing 49 inappropriate schools with new schools, providing 190 schools with electricity, providing 237 schools with sanitation and providing 173 schools with water,” the Presidency said in a statement yesterday.

The 49 school sites, located in the Libode, Lusikisiki and Mthatha Districts, were handed over to 16 contractors on 12 and 13 January. The construction value is approximately R675 million.

“Each school will be provided with seven classrooms for a small primary school and 14 classrooms for a medium primary school and the following learning and teaching spaces are provided per school: Grade R classroom, administration block, science laboratory, multi media centre (Library and Computer Lab), multipurpose class room, nutrition centre, ablution facilities, water infrastructure and electricity,” the Presidency said.

Over and above the progress made in the eradication of inappropriate structures, 155 schools have already been provided with sanitation facilities, 187 with water and 99 with electricity. These projects are located in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

In the 2012/13 to 2013/14 financial years ASIDI aims to replace 100 inappropriate schools with new schools, provide 714 schools with electricity, 514 schools with sanitation and 1069 schools with water.

In the 2013/14 to 2014/15 financial years ASIDI aims to replace 346 inappropriate schools with new schools.

Opening the new Mphathiswa Senior Primary School, Zuma reiterated his call for teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day. “We cannot meet our target of 100 percent enrolment for 2014 while we do not have proper schools and qualified teachers,” he said.

“The challenge remaining on the part of this school and the other schools we are providing with new facilities is to ensure that these facilities are maintained in good form and that every attempt should be made to preserve this investment for the benefit of future generations.

“Our learners, educators and our parents need to know that new facilities are not all that is needed for quality education,” Zuma said.

The President added that quality education also depended on the enthusiasm and dedication of learners and the skills and commitment of educators.

He hoped that the new facilities would challenge learners, educators and parents to a renewed and intense commitment to the importance of education-to create a better life for all.

“We would also like to invite communities to make more use of our schools. Remember they are public schools, not state schools! Use them after hours, for social, cultural, religious or sporting activities. Make them the centre of your community – a place that children feel at home.

“School sport events, or music festivals, create a wonderful sense of community spirit, and help also to seal some of the gashes that remain in the fabric of our society,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the President handed keys to a new house for the previously destitute Mkile family at Slovo Park, near Mthatha in the King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality, as part of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government’s Human Settlements programme. – SAnews.gov.za