The ever-present threat of school closures in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas has attracted the attention of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) who will be in Nelson Mandela Bay this week to ensure schools reopen without a hitch.
The voices of teachers, parents and pupils in the northern areas have fallen on deaf ears for three years, they say, as they continually struggle with issues including teacher shortages, non-payment of teachers and overcrowded classrooms.
This, coupled to the fact that the Port Elizabeth district matric pass rate decreased by 10.8 percentage points in the past two years, and in an attempt to avoid further protests in the new year – like those which resulted in northern areas schools closing for at least two months at the beginning of last year – will see education top brass descend on the Bay.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle and Education MEC Mandla Makupula will visit schools in the northern areas to provide feedback and assist with ongoing issues plaguing them.
While dates for their arrival are yet to be confirmed, respective spokespersons confirmed this would take place during the first week of the oversight visits conducted by the Eastern Cape portfolio committee for education from tomorrow until Friday and from January 16 to 20.
Northern Areas Education Forum secretary Richard Draai said each of the area’s 56 schools was lacking one or more teaching or administrative staff members.