“The department has not neglected any schools, old or new. Each province has a plan which is followed to refurbish old schools. Work is in progress across the country,” said department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.
“Norms and standards for schools infrastructure were promulgated at the end of November 2013 and now, in the new financial year, provinces are working on plans to implement those aspects of the regulations that are urgent,” he said.
Mhlanga referred to progress being made by the accelerated school infrastructure delivery initiative (Asidi) launched in 2012. The ongoing initiative was tasked with building 510 new schools that conform to the implementation of basic safety norms and standards in school infrastructure in a democratic South Africa. However, less than 100 have been completed, with some having cost just over R10-million each.
Asidi’s scope of work included the replacement of 510 schools that were built with inappropriate structures, supplying 939 schools with basic sanitation and introducing electricity in 932 schools, as well as connecting water in 1 145 schools for the first time.
Mhlanga said: “In that regard, 232 schools across the country now have access to water, 226 have decent sanitation and 150 now have electricity.”
“Asidi is helping to restore dignity to education for the poorest of the poor,” he said.
All schools come with an administration block, with a principal’s office and strong room in it, staff room, pastoral care and nutrition centre.
Also included in the schools, Mhlanga said, was a multi-purpose centre, computer laboratory with laptops, library, science laboratory and a fully resourced Grade R centre with jungle gym and sand pit.
He said the number of classrooms in the schools varied between seven and 14, as they were dependent on enrolment.