Is KZN Education Department ready for school re-opening? IFP doesn’t think so

Thami Ntuli is KwaZulu-Natal IFP chairperson. File Picture

Thami Ntuli is KwaZulu-Natal IFP chairperson. File Picture

Published Jan 11, 2024


Durban — As pupils, parents and teachers prepare for the reopening of schools to kick-start the 2024 academic year, the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal has questioned the state of readiness of schools in the province.

In a statement issued by the party provincial leadership, chairperson Thami Ntuli, said the IFP doubted the readiness as the provincial department of Education was in shambles. The party accused Education MEC Mbali Frazer of incompetence

The IFP alleged that Frazer had neglected to address critical staff shortages, leaving vacancies for principals, teachers, and departmental staff unfilled at a time when many qualified teachers in the province were unemployed.

The party further stated that last year a significant number of pupils in the province had experienced disruptions to their exams due to a go-slow and subsequent strike by teachers, yet again, under Frazer's leadership.

It accused the department of failing to fulfil its obligation of paying schools their full budget allocations with some schools ‘shockingly’ lacking basic resources such as ink and paper for pupils to complete their exams.

“In addition, a distressing number of schools, particularly in rural areas, are earmarked for closure, jeopardising access to education for many residents who reside in rural nodes. Eight months have now passed since the initiation of an investigation into the school nutrition tender, which failed to deliver services to schools the previous year. The delayed release of the investigation's report and the lack of accountability raise concerns about transparency within the Department,” said the IFP

The IFP also questioned Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube's apparent protection of Frazer and her officials, regarding the nutrition tender debacle, and noted that the department was yet to take decisive action and remove the under performing MEC from her cabinet.

“As schools prepare to open next week, the IFP is vigilant and anticipates whether potential challenges, such as delays in food servings and stationary deliveries to schools, will be addressed effectively. The IFP emphasises that education is not a privilege but a fundamental right for the children of the province.

“The provincial government must uphold this right, as articulated by the late IFP Founder and President Emeritus Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who advocated for "Education for Liberation. The future of the province rests in the hands of the educated young people, and it is imperative that the government ensures their access to quality education to break the chains of poverty and unemployment,”” concludes IFP.

The Department of Education’s comments will be added once received.

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