A DA survey of public library opening hours in the Eastern Cape has revealed a concerning lack of accessibility for learners during the matric exam period. Many libraries in the province do not open at all on certain days or have short operating hours.
In Port Elizabeth and East London some libraries do not open at all on weekends, while some close their doors at 1pm on a Friday. In East London for example, the Buffalo Flats and Parkside libraries do not open on Saturdays. While The Port Elizabeth Public Library closes at 1pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
As it stands the Eastern Cape has the lowest matric pass rate in the country. Given that we are currently in the matric exam period, students need to be able to utilise whatever public facilities are available to them.
The DA will write to the MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Xoliswa Tom, to request her to urgently extend library hours across Eastern Cape during this exam period. Learners in the province already have few alternative learning environments and libraries have become their best alternatives. Students need secure study facilities, supplementary reading material and access to the internet.
The three levels of government need to work together to give proper services to the people of the Eastern Cape. Municipalities need to extend library hours and days of access for matric students during this critical exam period. This time marks a critical milestone in many young South African lives. All corners of government need to play their role in assisting our future matriculants.
Students in the Eastern Cape have already experienced setbacks in 2012. Issues ranged from unavailable textbooks and workbooks to dilapidated mud school infrastructures. It cannot be business as usual in the province, until all role players take hands to better the lives of our future leaders.
The DA believes that education plays a critical role in uplifting the people of South Africa. Every opportunity to assist students and allow them access to learning facilities needs to be a priority.
Pine Pienaar, MPL