70 000 more classrooms needed in South Africa, says Education Minister

Published Mar 27, 2023


A high-level preliminary analysis of growth in learners’ numbers has revealed that there's a shortage of classrooms in more than 8 000 schools in South Africa, with a total of 70 000 additional classrooms required.

This was revealed by the Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga, in a written reply to questions in the National Assembly last month.

IFP MP Siphosethu Ngcobo asked the minister about the challenges, such as faulty and disrepair school infrastructure, teacher shortages, overcrowded learning spaces coupled with the country’s ongoing electricity crisis that will continue to plague some inland schools for the 2023 school year, what measures has her department put in place to address the specified challenges, especially the issue of infrastructure and overcrowding in rural schools.

The high-level analysis of the backlog in classrooms was determined based on learner numbers from EMIS (2021) and existing classroom number provided by Provincial Departments.

It also stated that based on conventional implementation strategies, a capital investment of R44 billion may be required.

Motshekga also stated points from the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI programme), that was launched in 2012.

ASIDI has an inappropriate material sub-programme which focuses on the replacement of schools made entirely of inappropriate materials. At present, she said there are 331 schools in this sub-programme and that 315 such schools have now been replaced.

The water supply sub-programme of ASIDI had 1272 schools on this, with 1259 having progressed to practical completion.

The sanitation sub-programme of ASIDI focused on schools that reportedly had no toilets. Currently, Motshekga said there are 1053 schools in this sub-programme, with all 1053 schools now being served with appropriate toilets.

The Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE programme), that was launched in 2018, focused on schools’ dependent on basic pit toilets. Between ASIDI and SAFE, about 55 000 appropriate toilets were constructed at schools.

The sanitation projects at the remaining schools on the SAFE programme are all scheduled for completion in 2023/24, the minister said.