Year in, year out, Members of the North West Provincial Legislature, embark on a three-day School Readiness Monitoring programme in the province at the beginning of the school year.
The programme is yet to record some success in eradicating issues such as poor infrastructure, lack of water, proper sanitation, timeous delivery of textbooks and the overall safety of learners.
The template used to assess school ‘readiness’ is designed by the same department that the oversight is conducted on. The template deals with mere administrative issues and does not even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to serious challenges facing North West Schools.
The fact that the Legislature, as an oversight body, does not have its own schools oversight checklist is a deliberate attempt to ensure the Department of Education evades any form of accountability by public representatives.
The Legislature’s deployment of members focusses on schools with less challenges over the long list of those in distress. It is for this reason that the DA chose not to accompany the Legislature’s delegation, but rather to visit schools which community members reported to us are experiencing major problems.
The DA requested the Human Rights Commission to investigate poor infrastructure and sanitation at schools such as at Boitumelo Primary School, Promosa Secondary School, and Setshwarapelo Primary School. See 2023 images of Promosa Secondary School here, here and here.
The SAHRC report is yet to be published due to the poor cooperation the Commission received from the Department.
The DA wrote to the North West Legislature Speaker, Susanna Dantjie, requesting her to involve all members to develop a school monitoring plan which will ask critical questions along with a consequence management tool that will ensure that issues facing schools do not go unaddressed by the Department of Education.
The DA will also demand a 4-year progress report from the Department of Education on all the challenges raised emanating from the school monitoring visits that have been undertaken by the Legislature since the commencement of this Parliamentary term in 2019.
We can no longer allow to be duped by the Department of Education into understating the serious problems facing North West schools.
The three-day school monitoring programme takes precious time from educators which could be used for teaching and learning. Therefore, whatever programme is in place should be solid with tangible results.