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A total of 26 new schools are to be built in the Western Cape in the next three years.
Outlining the Western Cape Education Department’s new infrastructure plan, Education MEC Donald Grant said along with the 26 new schools, his department plans to replace 46 schools built with inappropriate materials and build 124 new Grade R classrooms. These would be built to benefit poor pupils.
The department’s threeyear plan for infrastructure, from 2013/14 to 2015/16, included a shift in infrastructure spending toward maintenance and the building of new schools, rather than the building of replacement schools.
Maintenance expenditure would be increased from its current 17 percent of the overall infrastructure budget to 40 percent.
Two years ago, the department announced an infrastructure plan that included the building of 25 new schools, 20 replacement schools, additional classrooms and mobile units over a threeyear period.
Grant said in April 2013, the end of the plan, the department was expected to exceed these targets. An important feature of the new plan was that it had been based on an improved analysis of infrastructure provision. “This was made possible by the development of a new electronic tool for improving infrastructure planning for education in the Western Cape, namely the Geographic Information System for infrastructure planning.”
This tool geographically depicted school-specific data such as pupil enrolment levels and trends; the actual and required size of school facilities; whether schools operated from leased premises or were built with inappropriate materials.
“The new system – which is available and operational for all our districts – has provided us with a better opportunity than before to interrogate and diagnose systematically school provisioning issues that may require investigative, planning and delivery attention in the Western Cape. It also has provided us with a much more accurate picture of the ‘gap’ between existing demand and existing supply.”
The Basic Education Department had provided funding for the building of replacement schools as part of its Accelerated School Infrastructure Development Initiative. This allowed the Cape department to focus its spending on new schools and maintenance.
The new infrastructure plan intends to build within a three-year period:
l 26 new schools – 11 secondary schools, 13 primary schools and two special schools.
l 46 replacement schools – 21 Western Cape Education Department funded schools and 25 accelerated initiative funded schools.
l Five replacement classroom projects.
l 124 Grade R classrooms.
Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Grant, was unable to provide details of where the schools would be located because the lists had not been finalised. In terms of maintenance, 420 schools were identified to receive maintenance and refurbishment.
An additional 45 schools would benefit from life-cycle maintenance, or day-to-day maintenance by schools, which would decrease the need to repair defective schools resulting from neglect.
Department head Penny Vinjevold said the majority of the new and replacement schools would be built in the greater Cape Town area, with fewer built in the rural areas.
The schools would be built to benefit poor pupils.