“While we agree with implementing steps to improve education provisioning … we caution against the minister’s intention of uniformly closing all schools with 135 students or less as some of these schools are necessary given location,” Democratic Alliance MP Annette Lovemore said in a statement.
“We call on the minister [to] apply proper consideration to any possible legislative change to ensure the best possible outcome for the learners who will be affected.”
Lovemore was reacting to comments made by Motshekga in a Sunday Times interview.
Motshekga told the newspaper changes were being made to the SA Schools Act which would lead to the closure of high schools with less than 135 pupils.
“Very often, people are reluctant to have schools close down because for every school that closes, a principal loses his job, but the current situation cannot continue,” Motshekga was quoted as saying.
She said most of the schools that performed dismally in last year’s matric exams had few pupils.
These schools offered seven matric subjects despite not having enough teachers because every high school gets only one teacher per 35 pupils.
“Schools that give us a 100 percent pass rate are generally schools that have more than 800 kids. They have decent money to run the schools,” said Motshekga.
Motshekga said in the Eastern Cape there were schools with as little as three pupils and in Limpopo there were schools with only six children.
Lovemore said Motshekga was putting the “cart way before the horse”.
“A decision to close a school should be made with restraint, taking into consideration every possible position, and only after following proper procedure,” said Lovemore.
“It is most concerning that the minister is attempting to cut procedural corners, allowing the closure of schools to be done in a potentially rushed and ill-thought-through manner.”