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Broken windows, exposed electrical wires and cracked floors: NW Department of Education slammed over poor state of schools

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 5, 2022

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The South African Human Rights Commission has found that there is inadequate sanitation, deteriorating buildings and overcrowding in dozens of schools in the North West. According to the findings, close to 60 schools across the province have poor infrastructure.

However, the Education Department in the province said it was ready for the second quarter of the reopening of schools across the province.

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“All schools have concluded their first quarter work. Many schools are ahead with their annual teaching plan,” said the department.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) launched a probe last month following allegations of poor infrastructure in public schools in the province.

SAHRC senior legal officer Zama Luthuli said the commission initiated the investigation of six schools after receiving complaints from different community members. Luthuli explained that the scope of the investigations was widened when it identified more schools during the first leg on the investigations in early March.

According to the report, the complaints included allegations of deteriorating buildings, cracked walls, cracked floors, broken windows, falling ceilings, exposed electrical wires, a shortage of classrooms, overcrowding, asbestos roofing and structures, as well as a lack of access to sufficient water and basic sanitation.

Luthuli explained that during the SAHRC site inspections of schools they engaged with principals and requested them to share their views of the schools within their district, which led to more schools being inspected.

Provincial spokesperson Elias Malindi slammed claims that the poor state of schools in the province affected teaching and learning.

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“We don’t have a situation where we can say that there is a crisis in the province. We don't have a crisis. Schooling has gone well today since it’s the first day ... and we have already attended to a number of challenges that we have in our schools.

”There are many schools that we have completed, some are under construction and we have ensured that we are building flushing toilets in the province.“

Malindi said the SAHRC have done their investigation had inspected a number of schools and the department was attending to the challenges.

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“We are on the ground attending to all the challenges, and it’s not because of the investigations. Our primary objective is to provide quality education in a conducive learning environment,” he said.

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